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Busy summer starts next week for SR 99 tunnel crews

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Date:  Friday, June 22, 2012

Contact: KaDeena Yerkan, Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, 206-805-2846, (cell) 206-795-1876 (Seattle)

Drivers should plan for southbound viaduct closures next week, long-term lane closure on Aurora Avenue North

SEATTLE – Heading south on State Route 99 through downtown Seattle will be trickier than usual starting next week, as SR 99 tunnel crews dig into a busy week of short- and long-term closures.

Changes will start overnight Monday, June 25, when crews relocating utilities will narrow southbound SR 99/Aurora Avenue North from three lanes to two between Republican and John streets, just north of the Battery Street Tunnel. The lane reduction will last through August.

Beginning Tuesday, June 26, crews reinforcing a section of the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct above the future tunnel route will close the southbound lanes of the structure on weeknights and through part of the weekend.

Southbound SR 99/Aurora Avenue North long-term lane closure details

  • Monday, June 25 –Tuesday, June 26: Southbound SR 99 will be reduced to one lane between Roy and John streets from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. while crews set up the long-term lane closure. The southbound exit to Denny Way also will close from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. King County Metro Transit buses will be rerouted during the overnight hours when the Denny Way exit is closed.
  • Tuesday, June 26 through August: The far right lane of southbound Aurora Avenue will close at 5 a.m. Tuesday and remain closed around the clock between Republican and John streets. Access to and from southbound Aurora from Republican, Harrison, Thomas and John streets also will close through August.

If this long-term closure sounds familiar to southbound travelers, it should. It’s in the exact same location as the long-term lane closure earlier this spring. This time, like last time, drivers should plan for congestion and delays approaching this stretch of Aurora, which is used by 31,000 vehicles each day.

During the closure, crews will resume relocating underground electrical lines beneath the far right lane of the roadway. The lines must be moved so crews can start building the north portal of the tunnel later this year.

The electrical relocation work was split into two parts to avoid conflicts with other construction closures in the area, including a long-term closure of the southbound exit from Aurora Avenue to Broad Street. The exit ramp reopened earlier this week to help keep traffic moving. The southbound exit to Denny Way also will remain open.

Southbound Alaskan Way Viaduct closure details

  • Tuesday, June 26 –Friday, June 29: The southbound lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will close nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. between the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge.
  • Friday, June 29 –Sunday, July 1: The southbound lanes of the viaduct will close between the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge from 11 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Sunday. The lanes will reopen before traffic begins arriving to the Seattle Mariners game on Sunday afternoon.

Crews will use the southbound viaduct closures to continue wrapping a protective reinforcing fiber around the concrete beams of the structure’s upper deck between South Washington and Columbia streets in Pioneer Square. The fiber will protect this section of the viaduct when crews drive the tunnel boring machine beneath it in late 2013.

Reminder: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon tomorrow
Northbound SR 99 will be closed from just south of the West Seattle Bridge to just north of the Battery Street tunnel from 5 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. tomorrow for the Rock 'n Roll Marathon.

Drivers should plan for increased congestion in and near downtown Seattle during these closures, and consider leaving early, carpooling or riding transit. Up-to-the-minute traffic information is available at and via the Washington State Department of Transportation’s voice-activated driver information line, 511.

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