Latest Program News

  • Go west, young road: Alaskan Way shifts west this weekend

    This weekend Alaskan Way will move west, out from beneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The new alignment will feature two lanes in each direction from King Street to Union Street. Moving the travel lanes west will allow us to keep the street open when viaduct removal work begins in early 2019.

    Alaskan Way will be closed this weekend from 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 to 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 14. During the closure, Western Avenue will be the primary detour route. Access to Colman Dock will be maintained via South Jackson Street (entrance) and Yesler Way and Marion Street (exits).

    This map below shows the new street alignment. Construction and utility work for the rebuilding of Pier 62 will constrain Alaskan Way to one lane in each direction near the Aquarium (from Union Street to Pine Street) until the end of November.

    Map of Alaskan Way along waterfront showing two lanes in each direction

    Click on image to see larger version of map

    The space under the viaduct previously occupied by Alaskan Way’s travel lanes will be restored to hold a northbound business access lane and temporary new parking spaces. These spaces, which will add at least 70 additional parking stalls above the number removed for the switch, are scheduled to be completed by the end of October. Those spaces will be in place until the area is needed for viaduct removal construction work in early 2019.

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  • Driver alert: SR 99 closed southbound Oct. 12-15

    10/12 UPDATE: During this weekend’s closure contractor crews will place barrier and barrels on southbound SR 99 just south of the S. Atlantic St exit. This will create a safe work space on the right shoulder (west side) of the highway so crews can pour asphalt and concrete to fix a dip in the highway, and keep it protected while the concrete cures. Later this fall they will move the work zone to the left shoulder (east side) in order to repair the other half of the southbound roadway. These work zones will keep southbound SR 99 to two lanes until approximately S. Holgate Street, where the third lane will open. The southbound dip repair should be complete this fall, weather permitting.

    This weekend Seattle drivers should plan their routes ahead of time as the two main highways through Seattle will have opposite-direction closures. SR 99 will be closed southbound between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and South Spokane Street, while I-5 will have northbound lane reductions as part of the Revive I-5 project.

    Closing southbound SR 99 will allow contractor crews to take advantage of good weather to pour concrete near the South Atlantic Street off-ramp. This area, today occupied by the SR 99 detour through the tunnel work zone, will become the merge of southbound SR 99 and the new southbound on-ramp. This work is part of the SR 99 Connections Project, which is completing the eight ramps that will connect SR 99 and the new tunnel to local streets.

    SR 99 closure details:

    • SR 99 southbound closed from south end of Battery Street Tunnel to South Spokane Street
    • Closure begins 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12
    • Closure ends 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 15


    I-5 lane reduction details:

    • Northbound I-5 will be reduced to two lanes between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Olive Way
    • Lane reductions begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12
    • Lane reductions end 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 15.
    • More details about Revive I-5

    Don't forget: Alaskan Way along the waterfront will be closed Saturday night as crews switch travel lanes west.

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  • Parking removal along Alaskan Way beginning Sept. 24

    This fall, we are moving Alaskan Way out from beneath the viaduct. This switch will help keep people moving along the waterfront during the #realign99 closure and afterward during viaduct removal. Alaskan Way will run along the waterfront between the piers and the viaduct, with two lanes in each direction.

    Graphic showing the Alaskan Way Traffic Switch
    Graphic showing Alaskan Way configuration after the traffic switch (click the image for larger version). Oct. 10 update: updated map to newer version.

    Next week, crews will begin permanently removing parking spaces in front of the waterfront piers, between Yesler Way and Pike Street. Once removed, parking will be replaced with new traffic and pedestrian striping. Some of this work will be done on weekday nights to reduce impacts to the waterfront during the day. The road will be closed to drivers as crews complete this work. Access will be maintained for charter buses, passenger ferry pick-ups/drop-offs and deliveries. When the striping and traffic signal work is complete, the traffic switch to the new alignment will occur, currently scheduled for mid-October.

    Crews will add angled parking beneath the viaduct as part of this work. Our goal is to install as many spaces as possible between South King and Union streets beneath the viaduct. Striping these spaces may take several weeks after the traffic switch occurs, meaning there will be a period of time when both the new and current parking spaces are not available for use. Once the spaces are in place, the contractor will be allowed to close them as needed to complete their work to remove the viaduct.

    A free Waterfront Shuttle service provides free hop-on, hop-off rides to any of the 11 stops near downtown attractions and along the historic waterfront. The shuttle runs approximately every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. For more information about the shuttle and parking garages along the waterfront, visit DowntownSeattleParking.com.

    Other construction along the waterfront

    As crews continue their work, other waterfront projects are also preparing for the viaduct’s removal. Over the next couple of months, private utility companies will move utilities currently running on and beneath the viaduct. Waterfront visitors and travelers should expect work in various locations between South King and Pike streets, primarily in small areas and for relatively short durations, involving single lane closures and localized parking restrictions. For more information on other projects along the waterfront, visit WaterfrontConstruction.org.

     

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  • SR 99 tunnel to open in early 2019 after three-week #Realign99 highway closure

    Get ready – the new SR 99 tunnel beneath Seattle will open in early 2019, offering a direct route from the stadiums to the Space Needle. But before we can open the tunnel, we must #realign99. This closure – the longest major highway closure to ever hit the Puget Sound Region – will begin on Jan. 11, 2019.

    This traffic disruption is unavoidable. Closing SR 99 through Seattle for approximately three weeks allows crews to complete building the highway and the eight new ramps that will allow travelers to enter and exit the tunnel.

    During the closure, both the viaduct and the tunnel will be closed. Drivers should expect up to six weeks of region-wide congestion. In addition to the three-week closure:

    • The southbound SR 99 off-ramp to South Atlantic Street will close a week earlier, on Jan. 4, 2019.
    • A new off-ramp from northbound SR 99 to South Dearborn Street will require one to two additional weeks of work after the tunnel opens.


    Closure timing

    When Seattle Tunnel Partners finished disassembling the tunneling machine Bertha in 2017, we estimated the tunnel would be open in early 2019. While there was optimism this date could be moved up, a number of factors influenced the decision to stay with the early 2019 date:

    • Construction progress: WSDOT has several contractors that must complete work before the #realign99 closure can begin.  Some of this work, like road striping, is weather dependent.
    • Public notice: Starting in January ensures that contractors’ work will be complete and we can provide you with a specific date much farther in advance. Your help will be critical to keeping the region moving during the closure, and more notice means more time to plan.
    • Avoiding the holidays: WSDOT and its partner agencies are committed to keeping people and goods moving during the busy holiday season. Avoiding a major highway closure between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day helps achieve this goal. There are also fewer major Seattle events in early 2019 than there are during the last quarter of 2018.

     

    Get ready, make a plan

    The #realign99 closure will test travelers all around the region. During the closure the 90,000 drivers who normally use the Alaskan Way Viaduct will have to find another way to get to or through downtown Seattle. Congestion and delays will affect both major highways and local streets as drivers who normally use the viaduct look for alternative routes.

    We and our partner agencies have been planning for this closure and will implement a number of strategies to keep people and goods moving. These measures include increased West Seattle Water Taxi trips, more incident response teams on the roads, and signal timing changes on local streets. But we will also need help from commuters and employers to keep the region moving. Visit our #realign99 page for more information and resources for travelers and employers.


    A major safety investment for our highways

    We are replacing the seismically vulnerable viaduct with a modern tunnel equipped with state-of-the-art operational and safety systems. We will have more to share in the coming weeks about pathways to and from the tunnel. Per the Legislature’s decision, the SR 99 tunnel will be tolled as part of the project’s financing plan. The tunnel will be free to use when it first opens.

    Additional details about the tunnel and the future tolling of the tunnel can be found at www.99tunnel.com.

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