Three-week closure of SR 99 through Seattle begins tonight, Jan. 11
SEATTLE – If the rain holds off, drivers on the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct could be treated to one final sunset drive tonight, Friday, Jan. 11.
When the clock strikes 10 p.m., it'll be lights out for the viaduct, as the Washington State Department of Transportation starts closing the structure forever following six decades of service.
"By opening the tunnel and removing the viaduct, we're setting the stage for a historic transformation in our state's largest city and throughout the region," said Gov. Jay Inslee. "The end of the viaduct marks the beginning of an exciting new era in our state's transportation history."
A new 2-mile long tunnel underneath downtown Seattle opens in early February. But before that, travelers will face the longest planned highway closure the Puget Sound Region has ever seen.
It will take three weeks of construction work to complete the new alignment of SR 99 and transition to the new tunnel – this means three weeks without a major north-south highway through Seattle.
What to expect
At approximately 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, the Alaskan Way Viaduct closes between South Spokane Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel.
The Battery Street Tunnel narrows to one lane in each direction and permanently closes on Feb. 1, 2019.
Since history proves (pdf 1.6 mb) traffic congestion worsens considerably during a viaduct closure, everyone traveling to, from or through Seattle should allow extra time for trips.
It's never too late to make a plan to get around differently during the next three weeks – whether it's changing commute times, carpooling, taking transit, or working from home, if possible. King County Metro's Get Ready page is a comprehensive resource for planning.
Stay on top of traffic on the highways with WSDOT's real-time tools and the WSDOT app. Track Seattle traffic with tools available on the Seattle Department of Transportation's new traffic website.
And then, plan to celebrate
February 2 and 3, 2019 will feature events in the new tunnel, including a fun run, bike ride and festival on the viaduct to celebrate Seattle's future waterfront.
Those who register ahead of time will gain entry priority to free events. Find more event details at 99stepforward.com.