Advisories/Updates

  • May 3 #99closure update

    May 3 evening update Posted at 8 p.m.

    Tunneling progress

    Seattle Tunnel Partners has installed 20 rings since mining resumed last week. Crews have now excavated 131 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens to traffic.

    Visit our tracking page to see a map showing Bertha’s progress. If you’re up early to beat the commute, look for our next update around 4 a.m.

    Evening commute recap

    Highways: Traffic on most highways were fairly typical or just slightly slower than normal for a Tuesday afternoon. Like Friday and Monday, northbound I-5 heading out of Seattle was actually faster than normal until a rollover crash around 5:15 p.m. that blocked three left lanes near Lake City Way. This is a good reminder that a single collision can quickly change the state of traffic – make sure you check travel times before you leave and explore commute alternatives (PDF) as the week progresses.

    Seattle surface streets: Seattle surface streets were a little slower than normal for a Tuesday afternoon. Traffic was especially slow on 4th Avenue in downtown, causing transit-related delays. The northbound I-5 rollover crash near Lake City Way had a minimal effect on surface streets as city and state DOTs diverted most traffic on to the express lanes.

    Observationally, bike counts were heavy on the Spokane Swing Bridge and Fremont Bridge. No final numbers yet, but we’re expecting record-breaking ridership– keep up the good work!

    Denny Way - WSDOT and SDOT have been working closely on a number of strategies to help keep traffic moving during the #99closure. Left turns from southbound Aurora Avenue North to Denny Way have been restricted on weekdays as part of this plan. This restriction allows additional signal time for northbound traffic entering SR 99 in this area. Southbound drivers wanting to head eastbound on Denny Way can turn right at John Street and then turn left from Sixth Avenue North to Denny Way at the signal.

    SDOT has also adjusted the traffic control on southbound Aurora in order to allow vehicles entering the Battery Street Tunnel to bypass vehicles waiting to exit at Denny Way. They continue to monitor this intersection.

    Mass Transit: King County Metro routes affected by the closure were running delays of approximately 20 minutes. Standby coaches ran primarily on the 120 and the C line to maintain schedules. Water Taxi sailings to West Seattle were at or near capacity this afternoon. 


    May 3 afternoon update | Posted at 11 a.m.

    Tunneling progress

    Seattle Tunnel Partners has installed 17 rings since mining resumed last week. Crews have now excavated 117 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens to traffic.

    Visit our tracking page to see a map showing Bertha’s progress. We will provide another update this evening.

    Morning commute recap

    Highways:  WSDOT’s Incident Response Team quickly pushed an early morning rollover crash at Boeing Field to the side of northbound I-5 but even this brief closure had a ripple effect throughout the region with northbound commuters. WSDOT saw extended congestion on northbound I-5 as well as heavier than normal volumes and congestion on northbound SR 167 and northbound I-405 in the Renton area.

    Seattle surface streets:
    Seattle streets this morning continued to show increased congestion, as expected. Northbound traffic on Fourth Avenue South heading into downtown was heavy, similar to last Friday morning’s commute. We encourage drivers to continue to plan ahead and leave early or late to avoid traveling during the busiest peak commute hours.   

    Transit: The King County Water Taxi continues to serve large numbers of riders with two West Seattle sailings at capacity Monday evening. Additional improvements for pedestrian queuing on both the Seattle and West Seattle docks are in the works for laer today. We appreciate everyone’s patience and commend riders for choosing an alternate mode of transportation to get to downtown Seattle. 

     

    May 3 morning update | Posted at 4 a.m.

     
    Tunneling progress

    As of 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, May 3, Seattle Tunnel Partners had installed 16 tunnel rings since mining resumed last week. Crews have now excavated 106 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens to traffic.

    Visit our tracking page to see a map showing Bertha’s progress. Look for another update this afternoon.

    Get a head start on the morning commute

    As we begin the morning commute, we’re reminding travelers to plan ahead and give themselves extra time to reach their destination. Go to our maps and resources page or see our travel alternatives handout to explore options other than driving. Thanks for your continued patience as we work to complete this important phase of the tunnel project.

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  • May 2 #99closure update

    May 2 Evening Update | Updated 8 p.m.

     

    Tunneling progress

    As of Monday evening, Seattle Tunnel Partners has installed 14 rings since mining resumed last week. Crews have now excavated 91 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens to traffic.

    Visit our tracking page to see a map showing Bertha’s progress. Going forward, we will update the Bertha tracker one to three times per day. Look for the next update early tomorrow morning.

    Evening commute recap

    Highways: Drivers did a great job of making plans and finding alternatives to their regular commutes. Commute times around 5pm were close to average for a typical Monday evening. We encourage drivers to keep vigilant and explore commute alternatives (PDF), as we expect heavier commutes as the week progresses.

    Seattle surface streets: While midday traffic moved well, downtown Seattle traffic became heavy during the evening commute. A signal issue that disrupted signal timing in places downtown, and several incidents with Metro buses, both contributed to delays.

    Mass Transit: King County Metro deployed a number of standby buses to maintain schedules, while the King County Water Taxi’s 5:15 pm sailing from Seattle sold out. The Water Taxi is using a standby vessel to keep sailings on time.


    May 2 early update | 12:02 p.m.

    Tunneling progress

     
    As of Monday morning, May 2, Seattle Tunnel Partners has installed 11 rings since mining resumed last week. Crews have now excavated 78 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens to traffic. 
    Visit our tracking page to see a map showing Bertha’s progress. Look for another update this evening.
     
    Barging resumes
     
    As we reported last week, WSDOT has lifted the suspension for cause that halted Seattle Tunnel Partners’ barging operation in January. On Sunday night, crews shifted from trucking away excavated material to removing it by barge. Learn more about STP’s barging operation in this post.
     
    Morning commute recap
     
    Highways:
     
    As expected, this morning’s commute on I-5 started earlier than normal. The heaviest congestion was seen by northbound drivers heading into Seattle with travel times of about 54 minutes from SeaTac.
     
    Seattle surface streets:
     
    Many drivers are using surface streets coming from the south end, with heavy traffic on First Avenue South and Fourth Avenue South. Increased restrictions to street parking helped keep drivers and bus riders moving better this morning than during Friday morning’s commute.  
     
    King County Water Taxi delivering record-level service during Viaduct closure
     
    People across the region continue to shift how they commute to avoid peak congestion during the #99closure, and King County Water Taxi is seeing much higher ridership as a result. Boats to and from West Seattle carried more than 7,700 riders during the past three days, more than tripling typical ridership – and there’s still some capacity and parking as travelers consider their commute options for the remainder of the week.
     
    Information is posted online about expanded West Seattle parking options and regular sailing times during the 99 closure. West Seattle parking is available along Harbor Avenue Southwest, Southwest Bronson Street and at Pier 2 with connecting shuttles. There also is regular shuttle service between the dock and the community.
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  • May 1 #99closure update

    Tunneling progress
     
    Welcome to day three of the #99closure. After a slow and deliberate departure from the planned maintenance stop near Yesler Way, Seattle Tunnel Partners’ tunneling crews picked up speed in accordance with their plan for tunneling under the viaduct. As of 2 p.m. Sunday, Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, had mined 39 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the viaduct reopens to traffic. STP determines the appropriate rate to mine safely and mining rates will vary as the machine passes underneath the viaduct. 
     
    Visit our tracking page to see a map showing Bertha’s progress.
     
    Traffic overview
     
    Expect a more challenging commute Monday since Mondays are a traditionally heavier traffic day than Fridays. Go to our maps and resources page or see our travel alternatives handout to explore options other than driving. WSDOT continues to run a 24-hour-per-day command center with constant, real-time communication taking place with other agencies. And WSDOT’s Transportation Management Center also has extended hours with up to 12 additional Incident Response Teams ready to clear state roads of incidents as quickly as possible.
     
    The Seattle Traffic Operations Center examined Friday’s commute and is adjusting by extending parking restrictions on Fourth Avenue South from peak periods only to all-day restrictions to help transit and traffic flow. In addition, the Seattle Department of Transportation added protected left turn signals at First Avenue South and South Hanford Street as well as First Avenue South and South Horton Street to improve traffic flow. 
     
    SDOT will continue to work with the Seattle Police Department to monitor and adjust signals as necessary to maximize flow.
     
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Program Spotlight

  • #99closure feature: Drone footage inside the SR 99 tunnel

    Just a few days before the SR 99 tunneling machine started tunneling under the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the Washington State Department of Transportation flew a video-equipped drone through the SR 99 tunnel to show Seattle Tunnel Partners’ construction progress. There has been continued interest in seeing what has been built below ground and this video gives a glimpse of the tunnel as well as the nooks and crannies of the complex tunneling machine.

    On an average day, the tunnel is … more