Advisories/Updates

  • SR 99 reopens to traffic on time Wednesday

    We made it, Seattle commuters. It wasn’t easy, but the longest closure of SR 99 in nearly three years has come to an end.

    Both directions of the highway reopened to traffic at 4 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27.

    Thanks for doing your part to reduce congestion. Traffic was worse than usual, but we expected that. And had you not heeded our suggestions, things would have been much, much worse.

    From pain comes progress

    Of course when you’re sitting in traffic, it’s easy to forget that the headaches we’re enduring have tangible benefits. In the case of the four-day SR 99 closure, we came away with plenty to show for our shared sacrifice.

    Most notably, crews building the future north portal of the SR 99 tunnel demolished and replaced the section of SR 99 that crosses above Broad Street in Seattle. It looks easy in this time-lapse video, but completing this work and reopening the highway in four days was no small feat. 

    Additionally, during the weekend portion of the closure, crews took advantage of the empty highway by completing necessary work elsewhere along the corridor. They replaced 81 concrete panels on SR 99 south of downtown, repaired an expansion joint at the Seneca Street off-ramp from northbound SR 99 and cleared ivy from the Alaskan Way Viaduct to make future maintenance of the structure easier. 

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  • Sharing the road during the four-day closure of SR 99

    When State Route 99 closes for four straight days starting Friday night, Aug. 22, you can expect more congestion and delays on surface streets getting into and out of downtown Seattle. We’re expecting more bikes on the road as travelers try alternate ways to reach their destination.

    To keep everyone moving safely, drivers and bicyclists will need to be especially mindful of each other as they use crowded streets and intersections. Obeying the law is essential. In Washington state, bicycles are legally considered vehicles on the road. For cyclists, this means following the same rules of the road as drivers. For drivers, this means using best practices and treating cyclists as equals who have the same rights to the road as you.

    Here are a few common sense tips to help all commuters get along:

    For drivers

    • Yield to oncoming bicyclists when making a left turn at an intersection.
    • Yield to bicyclists when turning across a bike lane.
    • Look for passing bicyclists before opening a door that faces traffic.

     

    For bicyclists

    • Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic.
    • Pass on the left, where drivers can see you.
    • Use hand signals and make eye contact with drivers.


    Finally, both drivers and bicyclists should keep an eye out for pedestrians and remember that pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks.

    Additional resources:

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  • Seattle Tunnel Partners schedule update: Construction of the access pit’s underground walls will continue through August

    Today, Seattle Tunnel Partners notified us that building the underground walls of the circular pit (pdf 2.5 Mb) crews will use to access and repair the SR 99 tunneling machine will continue through August. While this date is later than anticipated, STP reports that tunneling is still expected to resume as scheduled in March 2015.

    Building a self-supporting, concrete ring that is 120 feet deep and 80 feet wide is no easy task, especially given the difficult ground conditions near South Jackson Street. STP crews have completed more than half of the underground piles and are working around-the-clock, seven days a week to complete the approximately 31 remaining piles.

    There are several reasons the work is taking longer than anticipated. One factor is the addition of 11 piles to the pit’s design, bringing the total number of piles to approximately 84. Crews are also working with exceptionally large interlocking piles, which are necessary to make the pit self-supporting without tiebacks or other reinforcements. A self-supporting pit is what will allow the tunneling machine to mine through its walls, but the large piles take longer to install than standard piles.

    While pile work continues, crews are making progress on other areas of the repair plan on schedule, including:

    • Shipping repair pieces: The new main bearing has arrived in Seattle and will be assembled closer to the time it’s needed, likely this fall.
    • Manufacturing repair pieces: Other repair pieces, such as the new outer seal ring, the thrust seal ring and bearing block are nearing completion. After these pieces are fabricated and inspected, Hitachi Zosen will ship them to Seattle.
    • Assembling a 300-ton crawler crane: This crane will be used to help assemble the 600-ton crawler crane. Pieces of that crane will arrive in September and assembly will begin shortly thereafter.
    • Assembling a 600-ton crawler crane: This crane will be used to assemble the modular lift tower (massive red crane) that will lift the largest pieces of the machine from the access pit. Parts of that crane will also arrive in September and assembly will begin in late September.
    • Assembling the 2,000-ton modular lift tower: Starting in late July and continuing through fall, crews will begin to stage the modular lift tower. Parts of the modular lift tower will arrive over the next several months beginning in late July.

     

    We will continue to update you on STP’s efforts to resume tunneling by March 2015. You can watch the access pit take shape on our time-lapse camera, and view photos of recent construction on Flickr

    Previous updates 

    June 16, 2014 update – Contractor announces details of repair work plan for the SR 99 tunneling machine

    May 13, 2014 update – Construction of access pit’s underground walls now underway

    May 8, 2014 update - With environmental review complete, access pit construction begins in earnest

    April 29, 2014 update - A summary of change orders on the SR 99 Tunnel Project

    April 21, 2014 update - SR 99 tunneling machine to resume digging in March 2015

    Click here to see a full archive of progress updates

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Program Spotlight

  • What we’re doing to keep traffic moving during the four-day SR 99 closure

    We’ve been asking you to do your part to reduce congestion when SR 99 closes for four days starting Friday night, Aug. 22. That includes things like changing your commute habits and choosing an alternate way to get around.

    But what are we, the agencies tasked with keeping traffic moving during this closure, doing to help? Quite a bit, actually. Here’s a roundup of some of the steps we’re taking to help you and your fellow commuters through the closure.

    Washington … more