#Realign99 Daily Advisories

#Realign99 Daily Advisories

  • READ FIRST: Alaskan Way Viaduct closure details

    Full SR 99 closure in place. Full sequence below:

    10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4: Stadium ramps closed 

    • Northbound SR 99 on-ramp at South Royal Brougham Way closes (near stadiums; connection to I-90 and I-5).
    • Southbound SR 99 off-ramp at South Atlantic Street closes (near stadiums; connection to I-90 and I-5).

    10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11: Full SR 99 closure through downtown Seattle begins 

    • SR 99 closes both directions from South Spokane Street to the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel.
    • Battery Street Tunnel remains open with one lane in each direction. Ramps to and from Western Avenue remain open.
    • West Seattle Bridge and off-ramps to First Avenue and Fourth Avenue remain open and do not close as part of Realign99.

    10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1: Battery Street Tunnel closes 

    • Battery Street Tunnel closes. On-ramp and off-ramp from Battery Street Tunnel to Western Avenue also close.
    • Southbound SR 99 diverted at Valley Street.
    • Local streets closed for Grand Opening Festival activities. See advisory for details.

    Early morning Feb. 4: New tunnel opens 

    • SR 99 reopens about three weeks after Jan. 11, with highway using new SR 99 tunnel. Alaskan Way Viaduct and Battery Street Tunnel remain closed. One SR 99 off-ramp remains closed (see below).

    Approx. 2 weeks later: Final ramp opens

    • New SR 99 northbound off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way (just south of tunnel) opens, about two weeks after SR 99 tunnel opens.

    Visit our Realign99 page for more information and resources on how to get around during the closure.

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  • Northbound SR 99 off-ramp near stadiums set to open before Tuesday morning commute

    The end of the holiday weekend brings the start of a new way for drivers and bus riders to get to downtown Seattle from northbound State Route 99.
     
    The new off-ramp near the sports stadiums will open in time for the morning commute Tuesday, Feb. 19.
     
    This new exit ramp leads to a new intersection at South Dearborn Street where drivers have several choices: Go straight to Alaskan Way and the waterfront or turn right to access First Avenue. This video shows what the choices look like.
     
    In addition to being an important link for travelers, engineers and researchers hope this new ramp will provide a link to something else – earthquake-resistant bridges.
     
    This ramp is the first in the world built with flexible metals and bendable concrete designed to sway with a strong earthquake and return to its original shape. Its innovative design has won regional and national recognition.
     
    After the opening of the new off-ramp, some bus routes will be adjusted. Please see King County Metro’s website for additional information.

    Update: We captured the ramp's construction in a time-lapse video:

     

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    Order: 4.0

  • Feb. 4 update: Tunnel open, winter weather a factor

    If you haven’t yet taken the time to familiarize yourself with the new two-mile-long tunnel, we encourage you to do so. These videos show you how to get around using the new SR 99 tunnel. In addition to providing a direct route from the stadiums to the Space Needle, the tunnel portals have new entrances and exits that will take some getting used to. We’re asking everyone to be safe and stay alert to their surroundings as travelers adjust to new travel patterns. 

    Northbound off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way still under construction

    An important reminder: the new northbound off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way at the south portal won’t open for one to two weeks after the tunnel. That’s especially important for travelers approaching downtown from the south. Until the ramp opens, travelers on northbound SR 99 won’t have the option to exit before the tunnel. That means the next available exit is at the north portal, near the Space Needle. Also note that northbound buses coming from West Seattle will continue to travel on the SODO busway reroute until the northbound ramp to downtown opens to traffic.

    Winter weather conditions

    Fewer people were on the roads today due to winter weather conditions. If you need to travel, please consider your safest options and make your plan.

    Real-time traffic links:

    WSDOT’s Seattle Area Traffic page

    SDOT’s Travelers page

    @WSDOT_Traffic

    @SDOTtraffic

     

    Transit service links:

    King County Metro

    Sound Transit

    @kcmetrobus

    @soundtransit

     

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  • SR 99 tunnel now open to traffic

    The party was over, but after more than 100,000 people spent the weekend saying goodbye to the viaduct and hello to the new SR 99 tunnel, one very important event remained: the opening of the tunnel to drivers.

    Crews began the tunnel opening sequence at approximately 10:30 p.m. Sunday. The first vehicle rolled through the tunnel's northbound lanes just after 11 p.m. and by 12:15 a.m. Monday, all ramps to and from the tunnel were open to drivers. The one exception is the new northbound off-ramp to South Dearborn Street, near the stadiums, which will take crews another one to two weeks to complete.

    WSDOT, SDOT, Seattle Police and Washington State Patrol coordinated closely to ensure the tunnel was opened safely. Uniformed police officers will remain on hand at some entrances overnight to ensure continued safety.

    Some intersections at the tunnel portals opened Sunday afternoon, including the intersections at South Dearborn Street, and the northbound entrance to SR 99 from Harrison Street. The new connection from Alaskan Way to East Marginal Way South also opened on Sunday. Learn more about the new intersections in this post. You can also watch these videos to better understand how to use the new tunnel.

    Thanks again to everyone who changed their travel habits during the #Realign99 closure. If you found a new way to get around that works well, we encourage you to keep it up. If everyone makes better commuting decisions, all of us will be better off.
     
    Travelers from the south will continue to face congestion until the new Dearborn ramp opens. Until it does, the last exit on northbound SR 99 approaching downtown will be at South Spokane Street. The next exit after that point will be at the north portal, near the Space Needle.  
     
    The tunnel is currently toll free. Tolling could begin as soon as summer 2019. Toll rates will range from $1 to $2.25 with a Good To Go! pass, depending on time of day. You can learn more about how tolling will work at our tolling page.

        

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    Order: 4.4

  • Feb. 1 #Realign99 update: Getting ready to Step Forward

    The big weekend is almost here! Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, approximately 100,000 people will make their way to Step Forward grand opening events in the SR 99 tunnel and on the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
     
    Because of the large crowds, we’re asking attendees to arrive within 15 minutes of their ticketed time. Big crowds usually mean lines, congestion and limited parking – let’s all remember to be patient and considerate of others as we all enjoy this historic event.
     
    People attending on Saturday can take advantage of the West Seattle Water Taxi running on a special event schedule, and shuttles to and from the Pier 2 parking lot. Once downtown, attendees can take the waterfront shuttle and regular bus service to Seattle Center. Attendees from other parts of the region planning their trips to the events should view Metro’s Service Advisories page to see what routes will be affected.
     
    Following the weekend fun will be the traffic event everyone’s been waiting for: In the early hours of Monday, Feb. 4, crews will begin opening the new tunnel, a process that will occur ramp by ramp over the course of several hours. The tunnel will be fully open by the time you hit the road for your morning commute.
     
    If you haven’t yet taken the time to familiarize yourself with the new two-mile-long tunnel, we encourage you to do so now. These videos show you how to get around after the tunnel opens. In addition to providing a direct route from the stadiums to the Space Needle, the tunnel portals have new entrances and exits that will take some getting used to. We’re asking everyone to be safe and stay alert to their surroundings as travelers adjust to new travel patterns. 
     
    An important reminder: Though the tunnel will open to drivers on Monday, the new northbound off-ramp to Alaskan Way at the south portal won’t open for one to two weeks after the tunnel. That’s especially important for travelers approaching downtown from the south. Until that ramp opens, travelers on northbound SR 99 north of Spokane Street won’t have the option to exit before the tunnel. That means the next available exit is at the north portal, near the Space Needle. Also note that buses that used to travel on the viaduct will continue their reroute until this ramp opens. Visit King County Metro for additional information about transit service.
     
    Real-time traffic links:
     
    Transit service links:
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    Order: 4.6

  • Jan. 31 #Realign99 update: Challenging commute within Seattle

    Evening commutes have worsened somewhat this final week of the #Realign99 closure, especially within Seattle. Tonight heavy traffic on Seattle city arterials started by 4 p.m., and I-5 also saw heavy congestion, especially southbound heading into Seattle. Incidents on I-5 near Southcenter and on southbound I-405 at SR 167 also caused backups.

    Thank you to commuters who changed from driving solo to another commute approach during the closure. If you are enjoying your new commute, keep it up! The SR 99 tunnel opens early Monday, but transit, bicycling, carpooling and telecommuting remain great ways to reduce stress, save money, reduce carbon emissions and help keep our region moving. The expanded West Seattle Water Taxi service continues through March 27.

    On the construction front, crews are fitting in as much striping as they can before wet weather arrives tomorrow. The photo below captures the type of work remaining on the tunnel’s ramps. If a highway ramp is a cake, this photo shows an undecorated cake, missing its frosting, sprinkles and candles. The barrier on either side is un-poured and the lanes need to be striped. Illumination poles are placed atop the barrier, and those need concrete foundations before they can be erected. In other words, the cake is baked, but it’s not quite ready for the party.

    Highway ramp with rebar in the shape of barrier on either side

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  • Get ready: SR 99 tunnel set to open Monday, Feb. 4

    It’s almost here. After nearly three weeks of the #Realign99 highway closure, crews are putting the finishing touches on the new SR 99 tunnel. In the early hours of Monday, Feb. 4, they’ll begin opening the tunnel to traffic, a process that will occur ramp by ramp over the course of several hours. The tunnel will be fully open by the time you hit the road for your morning commute.
     
    If you haven’t yet taken the time to familiarize yourself with the new two-mile-long tunnel, we encourage you to do so now. These videos show you how to get around after the tunnel opens. In addition to providing a direct route from the stadiums to the Space Needle, the tunnel portals have new entrances and exits that will take some getting used to. We’re asking everyone to be safe and stay alert to their surroundings as travelers adjust to new travel patterns. 
     
    An important reminder: Though the tunnel will open to traffic on Monday, the new northbound off-ramp to Alaskan Way at the south portal won’t open for one to two weeks after the tunnel. That’s especially important for travelers approaching downtown from the south. Until the ramp opens, travelers on northbound SR 99 won’t have the option to exit before the tunnel. That means the next available exit is at the north portal, near the Space Needle. Also note that buses that used to travel on the viaduct will continue their reroute until the ramp opens. Visit King County Metro for additional information about transit service.
     
    Tunnel tolls
     
    The tunnel will be free to use when it first opens. Tolling could begin as soon as summer 2019. Toll rates will range from $1 to $2.25 with a Good To Go! pass, depending on time of day. You can learn more about how tolling will work at our tolling page.
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    Order: 4.7

  • Jan. 30 #Realign99 update: South Royal Brougham Way ramps taking shape

    Updated 7:15 p.m.

    Construction update

    Crews are done paving – all driving surfaces for the SR 99 tunnel ramps have been paved or poured. This is a nice milestone, but there’s more to a highway ramp than the roadway. Crews continue forming and pouring the concrete barriers that sit on the edges of the ramps, as well as continuing work on electrical wiring and paving striping.

    In the photo below, crews measure twice so they only place (a wall panel for the northbound off-ramp bridge) once:

    Three construction workers measure a piece of formwork

    Evening commute

    Tonight’s commute to West Seattle was complicated by a mechanical issue with the Lower Spokane Street Bridge, which closed the bridge for about an hour. I-5 into downtown from both directions saw heavy congestion, as did First Avenue South in SoDo and other major downtown arterials. We are nearly through the #Realign99 closure – keep up those new commute habits!

     

    Originally posted 12:30 p.m.
    Final connections to the SR 99 tunnel are looking more complete with each passing day of the #Realign99 closure. Crews have wrapped up paving on the ramps that connect the tunnel to and from South Royal Brougham Way. They’ll continue to mark lanes on the ramps and elsewhere at both tunnel portals. Work will continue through weekend, even as up to 100,000 people celebrate during the Step Forward grand opening events

    People attending on Saturday can take advantage of the West Seattle Water Taxi running on a special event schedule, and shuttles to and from the Pier 2 parking lot. Once downtown, attendees can take the waterfront shuttle and regular bus service to Seattle Center. Attendees from other parts of the region planning their trips to the events should view Metro’s Service Advisories page to see what routes will be affected.
     
    Commute wrap-up
    The Wednesday morning commute was a breeze early before incidents slowed traffic for some. A late-morning collision on northbound I-5 just south of Mercer Street caused backups that extended as far south as Boeing Field. Traffic was also heavy on both directions of I-5 heading into downtown, and on the eastbound lanes of the West Seattle Bridge.
     
    Tunnel opening
    As we head down the home stretch of the closure, it’s time to look ahead to tunnel opening next week. The tunnel opening will introduce new travel patterns and routes. Be prepared for new intersections. New intersections mean new traffic patterns, so consider familiarizing yourself with how the tunnel’s ramps will work.
     
    Real-time traffic links:
     
    Transit service links:
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    Order: 4.8

  • Jan. 29 #Realign99 update: Mixed bag for the Tuesday morning commute

    Updated 7:00 p.m. 
     

    Construction crews took advantage of the good weather today to place asphalt at several locations at the tunnel’s south end, including the future intersection of South Royal Brougham Way and the tunnel’s southbound off-ramp and northbound on-ramp (as shown in this photo from yesterday):

    Construction site with ramps heading down into tunnel and CenturyLink field in background
     

    Building highway ramp barrier (forming rebar, threading electrical conduit through the rebar, building forms around the rebar, and then pouring concrete into the forms) remains a big focus of construction, with lane striping ahead if the weather remains favorable.

    While the closure itself has been a big change for many people traveling around Seattle, the tunnel’s opening will also introduce new travel patterns and routes. Be prepared for new intersections! New intersections mean new traffic patterns, so consider familiarizing yourself with how the tunnel’s ramps will work.

     
    Originally posted 12:40 p.m.
    Tuesday’s commute saw a number of blocking incidents throughout the region. The result was a slow commute for some, but the overall picture isn't much different from a typical Tuesday.
     
    King County Metro is seeing triple the ridership on the West Seattle Water Taxi service compared to last year. Bus service will continue to be rerouted on routes 113, 121, 122 and 123 to better avoid train delays in the SODO area and to better keep customers moving. 
     
    Twenty weekday standby buses and more frequent water taxi sailings are available. Boosted levels of West Seattle Water Taxi sailings will continue until March 27, as well as parking and shuttle service near Seacrest Dock. Buses that used to travel on the viaduct will continue their reroute for 7-10 days after the SR 99 tunnel opens, and will shift to SR 99 and First Avenue once the new exit from northbound SR 99 to Alaskan Way opens. 
     
    For people going to the Saturday, Feb. 2, SR 99 tunnel opening celebrations, the Water Taxi will operate West Seattle sailings and Metro is operating shuttle buses at the event. The West Seattle water taxi sailing schedule is posted online on the Captain’s Blog.
     
    Construction crews are in the home stretch as they push toward tunnel opening next week. Barrier work and concrete pours are scheduled for the next few days. Crews hope to wrap up lane markings later this week. Some of this construction progress is visible on our time-lapse cameras
     
    Real-time traffic links:
     
    Transit service links:
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    Order: 4.9

  • Jan. 28 #Realign99 update: West Seattle Water Taxi remains a good commute option

    Updated: 7:15 p.m.

    Our third Monday evening commute of the closure is looking like a typical Monday, with heavy congestion through downtown Seattle and heavy traffic on the West Seattle Bridge. For people traveling from south and west Seattle, see our morning notes below for options for taking the West Seattle Water Taxi.

    Most tickets to the Step Forward grand opening event are sold out, but if you have already secured yours, the Water Taxi will operate West Seattle sailings. Refer to the sailing schedule on the Captain’s Blog.

    On the construction front, crews continue pouring concrete and working on barrier and curb. Having the highway closed allows the contractor to use the closed roadway to move crew and equipment between ends of the tunnel, and stage work from the roadways. In the photo below, the flatbed truck on the left is sitting in the southbound lanes of SR 99 coming out of the tunnel. The truck in the middle is on the northbound off-ramp to Alaskan Way.

     
    Two paved ramps at tunnel's south end with trucks parked on them. Seattle skyline in background
     
    Originally posted:
    Week three of the #Realign99 closure kicked off with congestion on several corridors during the morning commute. Northbound I-5 saw the biggest delays, with travel times up to 15 minutes above average due to traffic incidents. Some smaller travel time delays were also seen on northbound I-405 throughout the morning. Overall, southbound commutes into Seattle were closer to their averages than northbound commutes.
     
    King County Metro has rerouted routes 113, 121, 122 and 123 to better avoid train delays in the SODO area and keep customers moving. They continue to operate 20 weekday standby buses and more frequent water taxi sailings, and are reminding travelers to allow 30 to 60 minutes additional travel time in case traffic delays increase during this week’s commutes. 
     
    People traveling from south and west Seattle can take advantage of expanded Water Taxi sailings, parking and shuttle service near Seacrest Dock. Details are on Metro’s Get Ready page. For people going to the Saturday, Feb. 2, SR 99 tunnel opening celebrations, Water Taxi will operate West Seattle sailings and Metro is operating shuttle buses at the event. Details will be posted online soon.
     
    Crews are placing barrier and curb today on the new southbound off-ramp to South Royal Brougham Way. A concrete pour is scheduled today on the new northbound off-ramp to South Dearborn Street. At the north portal, crews are wrapping up electrical work. You can track construction progress on our time-lapse cameras
     
    Real-time traffic links:
     
    Transit service links:
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    Order: 5.0

  • Jan. 27 #Realign99 update: Gearing up for week three

    Monday marks the start of the third week of the #Realign99 closure. Looking back at week two, we saw that regional traffic volumes resembled what we saw during the first week of the closure – a decrease of 1 to 6 percent. Based on that, it appears that commuters continued doing their part to reduce congestion.  
     
    Rain played a big part in the Wednesday and Thursday commutes, resulting in greater congestion and longer travel times. The highest travel times for the morning commutes shifted about an hour earlier compared to the average for a typical weekday, and lasted longer than the typical average peak period. 
     
    The takeaway? Keep doing what you’re doing as we enter the home stretch. In addition to tracking traffic conditions this week, we’ll be talking about the upcoming weekend of grand opening activities and shifting travel patterns after tunnel opening. If you haven’t already, check out these videos that talk about how to get around using the new SR 99 corridor.  
     
    On the construction front, crews spent the weekend placing rebar, building barriers and performing electrical work. Several more concrete pours are scheduled to occur over the next few days. You can track construction progress on our time-lapse cameras
     
    Real-time traffic links:
     
    Transit service links:
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    Order: 5.1

  • Jan. 26 #Realign99 update: Weekend update

    Under another beautiful, sunny winter sky, crews continue their work getting the SR 99 tunnel ramps ready for drivers. There is a lot of concrete curing right now (the process by which concrete hardens to its required strength). At the tunnel’s south end, crews are working on the roadway barriers for the future northbound off-ramp to Alaskan Way.
     
    This photo helps show the complexity of building roadway barrier. Those concrete barriers don't just keep vehicles from careening off the roadway. They also hold conduit for electrical wires. The metal pipes threaded through the rebar in the photo below will carry wires to light poles.

    Crew assemble rebar into a barrier shape, with Seattle skyline in background

    With Friday evening’s challenging commute behind us, most local and regional roads are seeing standard weekend volumes today, save a couple of collisions and incidents. While SDOT continues to coordinate with BNSF on their train operations, King County Metro will be rerouting bus 121 starting Monday to avoid train traffic around Spokane Street. More details are available on their website.

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    Order: 5.1

  • Jan. 25 #Realign99 update: Week two ends with a traffic headache

    Updated 7:25 p.m. 
     

    Friday afternoon's commute was a reminder that one incident can have huge ripple effects when SR 99 is closed. Just after 2 p.m. Friday, a charter bus caught fire on northbound I-5 at Spokane Street, blocking all northbound lanes for almost an hour. It was nearly 6 p.m. before the last lane reopened. The result was heavy traffic on all freeways south of the incident and on major city streets in the vicinity of I-5. Commuters faced a three-mile backup on northbound I-5 and a seven-mile backup on the I-405/SR 518 corridor from SR 900 in Renton to SeaTac Airport. Transit was hit just as hard. Metro reported system-wide delays associated with the incident.

    With just one more week ahead in the #Realign99 closure, Metro is thanking customers for patience and encouraging people to stick with travel changes until SR 99 reopens. West Seattle Water Taxi will be offering special service on Feb. 2 to connect participants to the SR 99 Step Forward event, and will operate shuttles and the Pier 2 parking lot that day, details to be publicized soon.

     
    Construction update
    Crews working for contractor Scarsella Brothers Inc. completed a big concrete pour for the roadway at the south end of the northbound SR 99 off-ramp to South Dearborn Street. After the new concrete cures, crews will begin barrier work on that section of the ramp. Further north on the new ramp, crews are preparing for upcoming barrier pours and doing electrical work for the ramp's lighting system. Electrical work continues up on the SR 99 on- and off-ramps at the north tunnel portal. Additionally, Scarsella continues to stripe lanes and ramps at both portals. 
     
    cranes SR 99 tunnel construction
    Crews use both directions of SR 99 to remove the paving machine that completed the pour on the south end northbound off-ramp.
     
    Posted 11:53 a.m. 
    Week two of the #Realign99 closure is coming to a close. Other than a few early traffic incidents, there isn’t much to report about Friday morning’s commute. Travel times on most corridors were typical for a Friday. 
     
    Metro continues to deploy standby buses on key routes to keep people moving. Standby buses have carried an estimated 33,572 riders on 970 trips over the past two weeks. There is still capacity on the West Seattle Water Taxi (which carried 1,948 customers Jan. 24, a 183 percent increase over 2018) and at its free parking facility on Harbor Avenue. 
     
    The dry weather is good news for crews building the final connections into the tunnel. They’re continuing to mark lanes at the north and south portals, perform electrical work and prepare for several more concrete pours. You can track construction progress on our time-lapse cameras
     
    Real-time traffic links:
     
    Transit service links:
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    Order: 5.2

  • Jan. 24 #Realign99 update: Afternoon commute gets a little tougher

    Updated 7:01 p.m.

    Thursday afternoon's commute was a little tougher than what we saw yesterday. Incidents on the southbound I-5 off-ramp to Corson Avenue in Georgetown and the northbound I-5 off-ramp to North 130th Street caused backups for travelers approaching those ramps. SDOT reported heavier than normal traffic on city streets, including the West Seattle Bridge, eastbound Mercer Street and First Avenue South in SODO. 

    Travelers continue to help minimize delays. Thanks to everyone who has changed their commute to keep traffic moving. We appreciate you shifting your schedules, taking alternate modes of transportation, using alternative work schedules, and giving yourself extra time to reach your destination. If you do have to drive, avoid “blocking the box”, or stopping in an intersection, as this creates more congestion and gridlock on our streets. We appreciate you doing your part to keep people moving during the Seattle Squeeze.

    King County Metro reports that buses are traveling in heavier traffic in parts of the downtown Thursday evening and is encouraging riders to continue to avoid traveling at peak commute times and pad your schedules to make sure you can arrive on time. We continue to have generally smooth commutes, however riders should prepare for unexpected traffic and monitor conditions from Seattle and WSDOT sources.

    Metro standby buses are estimated to have carried 30,307 riders on 871 trips since Jan. 12. West Seattle Water Taxi has carried a cumulative 17,853 riders Jan. 14 through and including the morning commute Thursday, Jan. 24. The Vashon route of the water taxi carried 8,854 riders since Jan. 14 and through and including the Thursday, Jan. 24 morning commute.

    Construction update
    At the south tunnel portal, today crews started paving the southbound SR 99 off-ramp connection to South Royal Brougham Way. Contractor Scarsella Brothers Inc. expects to complete paving the ramp on Friday. At the south end of the northbound SR 99 off-ramp to South Dearborn Street, crews continue placing rebar in preparation for a roadway concrete pour this weekend. At the north end of the ramp, crews are building barrier. 

    At the north portal, electrical work continues on the new SR 99 on- and off-ramps, and on southbound SR 99 approaching the tunnel. 

    Electricians pull wire for traffic detection loops embedded in the southbound SR 99 pavement at the north tunnel portal. 

     

    Posted 11:47 a.m. 

    Traffic conditions so far today are similar to what we saw yesterday, with several incidents slowing travelers during the morning commute. An early collision on SR 99 near the First Avenue South Bridge caused a two-mile backup. We also saw significant backups on northbound I-5 approaching Mercer Street.

    Thursdays are traditionally days when we see more people on the roads in general. Keep doing what you’re doing by using transit, biking to work, telecommuting, flexing your work schedule and planning for longer than average travel times. If you have to drive, avoid “blocking the box,” or stopping in an intersection, as this creates more congestion and gridlock on city streets.

    Metro continues to deploy standby buses on key routes to keep people moving during the #Realign99 closure. There is still capacity on the West Seattle Water Taxi and at its free parking facility on Harbor Avenue.

    With the weather expected to dry out through the weekend, crews hope to complete several concrete pours in the coming days. They’re also continuing to build barriers and perform electrical work on traffic signals at the north and south portals. Track construction progress on our time-lapse cameras

    Real-time traffic links:

    Transit service links:

     

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    Order: 5.3

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

    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.

    Highways

    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. 

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  • Jan. 22 #Realign99 update: Wet roads affect Tuesday afternoon's commute

    Updated 7:49 p.m. 

    Drivers and transit riders faced heavy traffic on freeways and city streets during the Tuesday afternoon commute, likely due to wet roads in and around downtown Seattle. Travelers should expect a busy commute Wednesday morning as the forecast calls for continued occasional rain and breezy conditions until midday. Skies are expected to start clearing up in time for the afternoon commute, and expected to stay mostly clear through the end of the work week. 

    Construction update

    Despite the rain, crews continued to make progress on connecting lanes and ramps to the new tunnel. At the south tunnel portal, crews completed a concrete pour at the south end of the new northbound SR 99 off-ramp to South Dearborn Street. Barrier work continued on the northbound SR 99 tunnel on-ramp from South Royal Brougham Way. At the north portal, crews continued installing street lights on the Denny Way on-ramp to northbound SR 99. Dry weather later this week could allow crews to complete striping on the southbound SR 99 lanes approaching the tunnel at the north portal.  

     

    Posted 11:43 a.m.

    Tuesday morning’s commute looks similar to trends we saw last week on major highways. Drivers on some city streets such as Mercer Street, West Seattle Bridge and First Avenue South in SODO experienced heavy traffic this morning. Generally, people continue to get on the roads about an hour earlier than normal. King County Metro riders appear to also be commuting earlier than usual to avoid peak travel delays and crowding, and Metro continues to encourage riders to travel earlier when possible.

    Metro buses worked their way through backups on the West Seattle Bridge Tuesday morning, and riders who traveled earlier experienced smoother travel times. Instead of driving, people are encouraged to try the West Seattle Water Taxi, which has twice as many sailings, free shuttles and free parking at Pier 2 lot across from 7-Eleven on Harbor Avenue.

    Construction update

    Work continues to build roadway connections to the new SR 99 tunnel as well as on- and off-ramps. Yesterday construction crews poured a roadway slab for the northbound off-ramp in the tunnel’s south portal area. They have another concrete pour scheduled for today. In the north portal area, crews are doing electrical work and lane markings if weather allows.

    Crews build the SR 99 northbound off-ramp near the stadiums

    Crews pour concrete for the SR 99 northbound off-ramp near the 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. 

     

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    Order: 5.3

  • Jan. 21 #Realign99 update: Get ready for the Tuesday commute

    The Monday morning commute was largely uneventful, likely due to the holiday. Traffic volumes were lighter on city streets and on the highways. Metro service was operating smoothly on Monday morning with no major delays, and the West Seattle and Vashon water taxi routes are both operating today, an expanded service on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

    Construction update

    Today construction crews have quite a bit of work at the tunnel’s south portal. If you’re following progress on our construction cameras, you can see a concrete pour on the SR 99: Tunnel Connections South camera as crews work on the northbound off-ramp that will take drivers into downtown. This ramp is scheduled to open one to two weeks after the tunnel opens to drivers. Crews are also working on building roadway barriers at the northbound on-ramp from South Royal Brougham Way. Watch a video showing how drivers going northbound can access this ramp when the roadway opens.

    Get ready for the Tuesday commute

    We expect the roads and transit to be busier tomorrow as more people return to work. Please keep up the good work from last week. Alter your travel times, take transit, commute by bicycle or walk, share a ride by carpooling or adjust your work week. Whatever measures you put in place last week, keep it up.

    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. 

     

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  • Jan. 20 #Realign99 update: Getting ready for week two

    With the first week of the #Realign99 closure in the books, it’s time to get ready for week two. Here’s what we saw during last week’s commutes:
     
    • Regional traffic volumes decreased between 1 to 6 percent.
    • The highest travel times for the morning commutes shifted about an hour earlier than average for a typical weekday.
    • SDOT observed an increase in bicycle trips on all major routes with bicycle counters.
    • West Seattle Water Taxi carried a total of 11,456 passengers on a congestion-free commute last week; Vashon Water Taxi carried 5,642. Both continue to have capacity for more. 
    • From Jan. 12-19, standby buses completed a total of 570 trips carrying 19,373 riders.
     
    It’s too early to draw definitive conclusions, but it appears people made different choices than usual. Now isn’t the time to get complacent. If everyone continues to do what they did last week, we’ll all be better off. Traffic volumes should be lighter on Monday due to the holiday, but the MLK Day Rally and March will occur in the downtown area, so be sure to plan ahead.
     
    As travelers get ready for week two, crews continue to make good progress at the north and south portals. Current construction activities resemble what we’ve seen for the past week: Barrier construction, lane marking and concrete pours. We have a new time-lapse video that shows work at the south portal over the past week, including the unburying of the new tunnel ramps that connect to South Royal Brougham Way.
     
     
    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. 
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  • Jan. 19 #Realign99 update: Weekend work

    Construction crews are hard at work today at both ends of the SR 99 tunnel.

    At the tunnel north portal, crews finished forming and placing rebar for the on- and off-ramps to Denny Way and also poured the roadway barrier. You can see construction progress on our SR 99: Tunnel Connections North camera. If you look closely, you can see the white tarps covering that freshly poured concrete.

    At the tunnel south portal, crews are placing rebar on the northbound off-ramp that will take drivers to the waterfront or into downtown and other southern neighborhoods. Over the next few days they have several planned concrete pours as they build sections of the ramp’s road deck.

    Ironworkers tie rebar before a scheduled concrete pour near Seattle's stadiums

    If you’re going to any of this weekend’s events, the City of Seattle pulled together some information to help you get around.

    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. 

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    Order: 5.3

  • Jan. 18 #Realign99 update: Almost through week one

    Updated 7:30 p.m.
     

    One week of #Realign99 commutes are in the books! Thank you to everyone who adjusted their commute time or mode and helped keep our transportation system moving this week.

    The West Seattle Water Taxi was one of the stars of the week. Monday through Thursday, 9,697 customers rode between West Seattle and downtown Seattle, an overall 240 percent increase over the same days in 2018 (2,853 customers). From Saturday through Thursday, Metro standby buses filled in to carry 13,282 customers on 411 trips that either faced potential travel delays or crowding, including routes such as RapidRide C and E lines and Route 120 in Burien.

    On the construction front, crews made a lot of great progress at both ends of the tunnel. There is a lot of work remaining before we can open the tunnel, but this slideshow captures some of what’s happened thus far:

     
    Posted 12:30 p.m.
    We’re approaching the end of the first week of the #Realign99 closure. The Friday morning commute offered a few reminders that travelers should continue to plan ahead and leave plenty of time to reach their destination. A number of morning traffic incidents caused delays throughout the region, including a pair of 5-mile backups – one on southbound I-405 near SR 520, the other on northbound I-5 in Federal Way.
     
    Traffic delayed some Metro routes by up to 20 minutes. King County Water Taxi service for Thursday carried nearly triple the number of West Seattle riders compared to 2018 – 1,974 riders compared to 667 in 2018, a 196 percent increase. Metro operated 106 trips with its standby buses on Thursday, carrying 3,363 customers.
     
    Crews continue to make good progress at the north and south portals, installing barriers, striping lanes and pouring concrete at the ramps that will connect the existing highway to the new tunnel. You can watch the portals take shape on our construction cameras.
     
    There are a number of events coming up over the long weekend, including the Womxn’s March on Saturday and the MLK Day Rally and March on Monday. Trip-planning resources are available on our closure page. Look here for daily updates on traffic and construction progress, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates, photos and videos.
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  • Jan. 17 #Realign 99 update: Rolling into Thursday

    Update 7:15 p.m.

    This evening we saw roughly average travel times on Seattle’s highways. We appreciate how drivers and transit riders are adjusting their travel times to ensure they arrive where they need to be on time. These adjustments are resulting in more bus riders earlier and fuller buses on popular routes.

    This morning 933 people commuted on the West Seattle Water Taxi, compared to 320 riders in 2018. The Water Taxi continues to have capacity for riders, and there also is room on free shuttles, Ride2 shuttles and at the Pier 2 parking lot in West Seattle. See this overview of Water Taxi services.

    On the construction front, crews poured a stretch of concrete at the tunnel’s north end that will form part of the two southbound SR 99 lanes heading into the tunnel. You can see the pour on our SR 99: Tunnel Connections North construction camera. Crews covered the concrete to protect it from rain, and now it sits to cure. Below is a close-up of the crew at work:

     
    Construction workers pour and smooth concrete by hand and with a roller
     
     
    Published 11:20 a.m.
     
    Another day, another decent morning commute. We saw a few incidents this morning, but nothing major. The most noteworthy event this morning didn’t even occur on the highway – a brief outage that prevented access to parts of our website. The problem was resolved before 7 a.m. and everything is back online.
     
    Rain moved in overnight, bringing an end to the dry spell that aided crews for the first several days of the closure. Work continues on highway barriers. Crews have completed quite a bit of lane striping on newly built sections of roadway. They’re also making progress on the new intersection at First Avenue South and South Dearborn Street.
     
    Commute resources and ideas are available on our closure page. 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.  
     
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  • Jan. 16 #Realign99 update: More of the same

    Update: 7:15 p.m.
    Today we enjoyed what may be the last day of dry weather this week. One critical component of work occurring at the south portal during the closure is completing the SR 99 northbound off-ramp that will take drivers to Alaskan Way or South Dearborn Street. This ramp was bisected by the highway before we closed it on Friday; now crews are working on both sides of the structure. The photo shows crews placing soil atop a membrane that sits atop geofoam fill. A concrete slab will be poured atop this soil soon.
     
    Crews spreading dirt on a ramp with Seattle skyline in background
     
    On the commute, King County’s West Seattle Water Taxi ridership continues to be high: this morning’s commute was up nearly 200 percent compared to this day last year. There is still capacity on the boats, in the Pier 2 parking lot, and on the shuttles taking commuters down to the West Seattle terminal, so if you are a West Seattle commuter, consider trying your friendly local water taxi.
     
     
    Posted: 12:18 p.m.
     
    Clouds are finally rolling in after several days of sun, but the third weekday morning commute of #Realign99 remained relatively clear. Most roadways in the region had travel times near or below three-month averages, and below travel times we saw last Wednesday, before the closure began. People are still shifting their commute, so we can still see an additional 10 to 20 minutes of delay, depending on the time of day. 
     
    We’ve seen small but consistent travel time increases on northbound I-405 to Bellevue and northbound I-5 from I-405 to Seattle. Northbound SR 167 from Auburn to Renton and northbound I-5 from Federal way to I-405 saw a small increase. We are seeing some longer-than-normal backups on northbound I-5 to downtown exits, particularly Mercer Street, where backups have extended through the convention center tunnel.
     
    As we saw on Monday and Tuesday, most delays have occurred earlier in the commute. With rain in the forecast and the potential for folks to fall back into their old routines, we’re asking travelers to stay the course. Let’s all continue to do our part to keep the system flowing smoothly. 
     
    Crews building the tunnel connections continue to benefit from the good weather. They’re building barriers on the northbound on-ramp from South Royal Brougham Way into the tunnel, and continuing work on the new intersection at First Avenue South and South Dearborn Street. At the north portal, crews are placing rebar in preparation for concrete pours that are scheduled to occur early next week.
     
    Commute resources and ideas are available on our closure page. 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. 
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    Order: 5.5

  • Jan. 15 #Realign99 update: South end commuters feeling the squeeze

    Update: 6:45 p.m.

    The Puget Sound region saw a pretty good evening commute tonight, aided by dry weather and quick work by crews clearing traffic incidents. WSDOT, SDOT and King County Metro are monitoring transit travel times and looking for places where traffic signal timing or other changes could be made to keep buses moving.

    West Seattle Water Taxi demand remains strong and Ride2 West Seattle shuttles are in service. There's also more frequent service on free shuttle routes 773 and 775. King County Metro deployed standby buses on 51 trips today and carried an estimated 1,700 riders on those buses.

    Keep up the good work and enjoy the good weather while we can. The forecast is looking less summer-in-January for the end of the week. 


    Posted at 12:03 PM

    Thanks to another dry morning, crews building connections to the new tunnel continue to make good progress. They expect to finish removing geofoam from the new South Royal Brougham Way northbound on-ramp later today. Following that, they’ll focus their efforts on installing highway barriers. Several concrete pours will occur in the coming days at both the north and south portals. Striping is also underway on new sections of roadway. Overall, work is proceeding as planned.

    The morning commute was slightly less favorable than the weather. After a smooth commute on Monday, Tuesday got off to a rough start. Several incidents slowed traffic during the morning commute, which again started earlier than usual. South end commuters had slower travels than most. Travel times on northbound I-405 and northbound SR 167 were approximately 10 minutes slower than usual.

    Still, many other corridors were flowing smoothly, and in some cases better than normal. Travel times on southbound I-5 between Everett and Seattle were faster than usual. Overall, travel times were close to normal on many routes. 

    With increased congestion on the West Seattle Bridge, many West Seattleites are taking advantage of increased Water Taxi service. Yesterday, West Seattle Water Taxi ridership was up 269 percent from the same day last year, with some capacity remaining on boats.

    If you still need help making a plan for your commute, our closure page has resources and ideas. 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. 

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  • Jan. 14 #Realign99 update: The first commute

    Update: 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14

    Aided by dry weather, crews are hard at work on the ramps at both ends of the tunnel. The photo below shows crews removing geofoam blocks from the tunnel’s previously buried northbound on-ramp. Just three days ago, northbound SR 99 went over the top of this ramp.

    Construction machinery carrying large white blocks of foam out of the ramp to a tunnel

    As of 6:30 p.m. tonight, the first #Realign99 evening commute was going reasonably well. Highways and Seattle streets saw some backups and heavy traffic starting a little earlier than normal. King County Metro buses ran 47 extra stand-by coach trips combined between the morning and evening commutes to handle expected increased ridership. SDOT added new signage on the West Seattle Bridge to emphasize the bus-only lane, and implemented longer peak-commute signal timing on key thoroughfares.

    One day in the books! Mondays tend to see lower traffic volumes generally, so we will learn more as the week progresses. But to those commuters and employers who made plans and altered your commutes, thank you, and keep it up.
     

    Original post: Monday morning, 11:30 a.m.

    Over the weekend crews completed all scheduled work, which included removing one small section of the ramp that used to carry northbound SR 99 up onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct near the new tunnel’s south portal. Crews are scheduled to begin paving the new S. Dearborn St. later this week.

    This morning was the first #Realign99 commute since the Alaskan Way Viaduct closed. Overall, highway, local streets and transit operations were similar to average weekday conditions. Morning commute times started earlier than normal, and a few bus routes experienced increased travel time. The Water Taxi from West Seattle saw significantly increased ridership, but capacity was not filled.

    What does this mean? It looks like all those plans you made are working! If you still need help making a plan for your commute, our closure page has resources and ideas. 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. 

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  • Jan. 13 #Realign99 update: Preparing for Monday's commute

    The first weekend of the #Realign99 closure is coming to a close. Traffic patterns were typical for a weekend, but the biggest test is yet to come. Focus now shifts to Monday's commute, the first since the Alaskan Way Viaduct permanently closed on Friday night.
     
    We've spent months asking people to plan ahead for this major traffic event. It's not too late to visit our closure page for a list of resources to help you navigate the longest planned highway closure the region has ever seen. We're expecting the effects of the viaduct closure to extend to routes throughout the region, so please plan accordingly. Allow extra time for your trip, and be sure to pack plenty of patience. 
     
    In addition to highway construction at each of the tunnel portals, crews spent the weekend demolishing a small portion of the viaduct near the stadiums. Until Friday, this section of roadway carried northbound SR 99 from the construction detour up onto the viaduct. Removing this part of the ramp makes space for construction of the new intersection at South Dearborn Street, at the new tunnel's south portal.
     
    Viaduct safety
    The Alaskan Way Viaduct is now part of a construction zone. Members of the public are prohibited from entering the structure. Security is on site at each of the access points and will contact police if people trespass. The public will have access to the viaduct on Feb. 2-3 as part of our Step Forward celebration. At that time, we will have appropriate barriers in place along the viaduct for public safety. We are encouraging everyone to sign up at 99stepforward.com for the events to guarantee access and plan their day.      
     
    Check here for daily updates on traffic and construction progress throughout the #Realign99 closure. Resources for planning your commute are available on our closure page. Track construction on our time-lapse cameras, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates, photos and videos.  
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    Order: 5.7

  • Jan. 12 #Realign99 update: Viaduct demolition this weekend (just a small section)

    Crews are making quick work demolishing a small portion of the viaduct near the stadiums. Until yesterday, this section of roadway carried northbound SR 99 from the construction detour up onto the viaduct. Removing this section of the northbound ramp makes way for construction of the new intersection at South Dearborn Street, at the new tunnel's south portal.

    Construction crews at work near the SR 99 tunnel's south operations building

    Construction crews are working to demolish the northbound ramp to the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

    Demolition equipment taking down a section of the viaduct near the stadiums

    Looking south toward the stadiums.

    Crews spray water as they demolish the northbound ramp to the viaduct

    Water is sprayed during demolition to control the dust.

    If you’re driving in the area, Railroad Way South is closed for the weekend. Our Construction Notices and Detours page has more information.

    #Realign99 construction is well under way and WSDOT, along with other transportation agencies are working together to monitor the transportation system. As of 1 p.m. today, highway, local streets and transit operations were similar to average weekend conditions.

    If you haven’t already, make a plan for your travel during the closure. Check here for daily updates on traffic and construction progress throughout the #Realign99 closure. Resources for planning your commute are available on our closure page. Track construction on our time-lapse cameras, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates, photos and videos. 

     

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    Order: 5.8

  • Jan. 11 #Realign99 update: Closing time for the Alaskan Way Viaduct

    And that's a wrap. After more than six decades of service, the Alaskan Way Viaduct is permanently closed to traffic.
     
    Crews began closing the Columbia Street on-ramp at approximately 9:45 p.m. Friday. As midnight approached, the final cars had exited the double-deck structure, setting the stage for the approximately three-week #Realign99 closure.
     
    During the closure, crews will build the final connections to the new SR 99 tunnel. Viaduct demolition will begin after the tunnel opens in early February. A small portion of the viaduct near the stadiums will be demolished this weekend to make way for the new intersection at South Dearborn Street, at the new tunnel's south portal.
     
    Check here for daily updates on traffic and construction progress throughout the closure. Resources for planning your commute are available on our closure page. Track construction on our time-lapse cameras, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates, photos and videos.     
     
    Columbia Street on-ramp closure
    Crews close the Columbia Street on-ramp to the Alaskan Way Viaduct on Friday evening, Jan. 11. 
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