Alaskan Way Viaduct closes April 29 -- here is what you need to know
By Gwen Davis
The Alaskan Way Viaduct will close at 12:01 Friday. It will remain closed for two weeks. Around 90,000 drivers and 30,000 transit riders will need to make other plans. Congestion is expected to spread for dozens of miles. This article includes information West Seattleites can use to cope with the closure.
WSDOT officials said the closure could in fact last longer since the safety of the viaduct was a primary concern. Any shifting, cracks, settling or obviously issues with the tunneling could cause the closure to be extended.
Driving will be difficult — avoid it if you can. If you have no choice, and are going southbound via Aurora Avenue, the city will let drivers migrate through one lane inside Battery Street Tunnel and then exit to Belltown or Wall Street.
But drivers can expect to face difficulties. Going west-east, crowding is reportedly likely on Mercer Street and North 85th Street, since drivers won’t be able to reach I-5 and I-90 using the viaduct and Edgar Martinez Drive. When I-5 fills, delays will spread north through Kenmore and to the Lynnwood-Bothell junction of I-405. To the south, traffic also will struggle. Drivers leaving Highways 599 and 509 will drench the Duwamish boulevards instead of continuing onto the viaduct. Reportedly, Airport Way South and East Marginal Way South at Boeing Field will offer driving space until cars will sit at Georgetown.
Some hopeful news is if you are going east, the Highway 520 bridge eastbound widens from two lanes to three at Foster Island, creating more room. At Sodo, there’s a ramp from First Avenue South to West Seattle Bridge, also providing drivers with additional mobility.
West Seattle buses
According to Seattle Times coverage: "Viaduct routes C, 21E, 55, 56, 57, 120 and 125 will take the Spokane Street loop ramp down to Fourth Avenue South, starting at 10 p.m. Thursday, when viaduct onramps begin closing. A northbound bus stop will be added at Fourth Avenue South and South Lander Street — where hundreds of people will improvise by switching to light rail at Sodo Station, if they expect gridlock ahead. Route 50, running via First Avenue to Lander, might reach Sodo Station more quickly. Returning to West Seattle, these buses will turn up Yesler Way, then south into Chinatown International District, and through Sodo via Airport Way South.”
West Seattle Water taxis
Five roundtrips between Vashon Island and downtown Seattle will be added during this time, using the 147-passenger Spirit of Kingston, and the 278-passenger Sally Fox. Taxis will leave every 30 to 40 minutes.
Two temporary park-and-ride lots with shuttle service to the water taxis will add 240 spaces south of the dock. The Route 775 shuttle will transfer passengers from Admiral and Alki, and the 733 will provide transportation from the West Seattle and Morgan junctions.
Additional pick-up lots for vanshares and UberHOP will be added at the West Seattle and downtown docks.
With the closure, King County is offering free rides to people who join a van pool, along with incentives to van pools that add riders.
Seattle will add two dozen police offers to control traffic, enforce bus-only lanes and deter cars from blocking intersections. In order to create more room for bus lanes, curbside parking will be banned along northbound Delridge Way Southwest near Delridge Playfield.
Bicycle and pedestrian routes beneath the viaduct will remain open, along with the Highway 99 trail, next to Terminal 46. Additionally, bikes are welcome aboard ferries and water taxis, and parking racks are available at light rail stops.
For more information, diagrams, and agency contacts, see www.99closure.org andhttp://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/get-you-there/alaskan-way-viaduct/
You can check current traffic conditions into and out of West Seattle on our Traffic Camera Page here