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Relief in sight for drivers near the Port of Seattle’s busiest freight terminal

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Date:  Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Contact: Laura Newborn, Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program communications 206-805-2871; 206-639-8577 (mobile)

WSDOT ready to open new South Atlantic Street overpass

SEATTLE – Prepare to say goodbye to a bottleneck that has long frustrated drivers near the Port of Seattle’s busiest freight terminal.

On Monday, Jan. 27, the Washington State Department of Transportation will open a new overpass to the west of Seattle’s stadiums. The overpass allows traffic to bypass a busy railroad track that crosses South Atlantic Street and will help freight and drivers move faster and more reliably through the area. Today, train activity often blocks traffic for extended periods, which not only slows truckers traveling to and from the Port of Seattle, but also creates backups that stretch onto Seattle streets and Interstate 90.

“If freight can’t move, nobody moves,” said Matt Preedy, deputy administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. “This overpass can save truckers as much as 20 minutes of travel time between the port and I-5 or I-90. Improving freight mobility will benefit everyone.”

The overpass is part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, which includes a two-mile-long tunnel beneath downtown Seattle, a mile-long stretch of new highway to connect the south entrance of the tunnel near Seattle’s stadiums and a new Alaskan Way surface street along the waterfront to connect SR 99 to downtown.

Next steps
To complete the connections between the overpass and nearby streets, crews must close South Atlantic Street and the State Route 99 off-ramp to Atlantic this weekend. Both closures will start at 4 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. The overpass will open to traffic by 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 27.

The section of Atlantic beneath SR 99 will remain closed to through traffic until the SR 99 tunnel opens to traffic. Drivers will instead use the new overpass to travel in both directions between Atlantic and Alaskan Way South.

Later this winter, crews will complete improvements to the bicycle and pedestrian path on the west side of SR 99 between Atlantic and South King streets.

The north leg of the overpass will open to the public after the tunnel opens and will eventually link traffic to a newly rebuilt Alaskan Way and Seattle waterfront.

For more information on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, visit www.alaskanwayviaduct.org.

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