Jan. 23 #Realign99 update: Dry roads help keep traffic moving during afternoon commute

Posted on Jan 23 2019 11:17 AM

Update 7:30 p.m. 

Wednesday afternoon's commute got some help from Mother Nature. After a soggy, slogging morning commute, the rain stopped and the roads dried out. The result was an afternoon commute similar to what we saw last week, when sunny weather helped ease congestion. Despite the good news, now is not the time for commuters to get complacent. We've still got a ways to go until the SR 99 tunnel opens. 

King County Metro reports standby buses have carried 27,067 riders on 792 trips as of Tuesday, and the West Seattle Water Taxi has carried 14,810 riders, more than triple the ridership compared to last year. King County Metro is grateful for the public’s participation in helping us all get through this, and asks that they continue to pad their schedules, avoid traveling at peak commute times, and take transit instead of driving alone. 

Construction update

Of course, dry weather also helps keep construction moving. At the south tunnel portal, crews started placing roadway deck rebar at the south end of the new northbound SR 99 off-ramp near the stadiums. At the north end of the ramp, the roadway deck pavement has cured enough to allow ironworkers to start assembling barrier rebar. WSDOT and contractor Scarsella Brothers Inc. are closely tracking weather forecasts and striping roads and ramps when and where they can. 

At the north tunnel portal, roadway and barrier concrete is in place and curing on SR 99 and connecting ramps. The focus now is on electrical work for those ramp connections.

Crews set up rebar at the south end of the northbound SR 99 off-ramp near Seattle's stadiums.

Look here for daily updates on traffic and construction progress throughout the #Realign99 closure. Track construction on our time-lapse cameras, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates, photos and videos. 


Posted 11:17 a.m. 

Commute recap

Here’s what we saw during this morning’s commute.


This morning, traffic volumes started building about 30 minutes earlier than usual. Delays were relatively normal for a Wednesday before a slew of crashes slowed traffic down. As of 9 a.m., the largest delays were out of the north end as well as on northbound I-405 between Renton and Bellevue. The south end commute looked very similar to what we’ve since the Alaskan Way Viaduct closed.

While the rain sticks around, we need commuters to take it slow on the wet roads, increase their following distance with the vehicle in front of them, and keep their eyes on the road.

Seattle streets

Commuters saw heavy traffic on major arterials connecting to I-5 and surface streets heading into downtown.

King County Metro

With traffic appearing to increase, and delays due to weather, Metro is again recommending customers travel earlier and pad their schedules by up to 30-60 minutes when commuting. West Seattle Water Taxi service continues to operate twice as many sailings, with hundreds of available parking spaces in West Seattle served by connecting shuttles. Metro standby buses continue to be deployed to help with crowding or delays to keep service as close to on schedule as possible.

WSDOT, the Seattle Department of Transportation, King County Metro, Sound Transit and other transportation partners continue to monitor traffic conditions in real-time and make adjustments where possible.

We appreciate travelers’ patience during the #Realign99 closure. To avoid getting stuck in traffic, we encourage everyone that can to explore alternate travel modes and travel earlier or later to avoid the peak commute hours.

For real-time traffic information, visit WSDOT’s Seattle Area Traffic page and SDOT’s Travelers page, and follow @WSDOT_Traffic and @SDOTtraffic on Twitter. Get alerts about transit service at King County Metro’s website and Sound Transit’s website or by following @kcmetrobus and @soundtransit on Twitter.

Construction update

Construction activities are progressing as planned. At the tunnel’s north portal, electrical crews continue to get traffic signals ready on the ramps to SR 99. In the tunnel’s south portal, crews are building roadway barriers and have more concrete pours scheduled later this week. Asphalt paving is also planned for later this week, when drier weather is expected.

Look here for daily updates on traffic and construction progress throughout the #Realign99 closure. Track construction on our time-lapse cameras, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates, photos and videos.