Advisories and Updates 2019

2019 Program News

  • Wall Street closed and Denny Way reduced this weekend for paving

    The North Surface Streets Project continues its street construction work this weekend at the intersection of Denny Way and Seventh Avenue. At 8 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 20, Wall Street will be closed at Denny Way. Southbound vehicles on Seventh Avenue North will have to turn right onto Denny Way. Denny Way will also be narrowed to one lane in each direction between Sixth Avenue North and Dexter Avenue North. These restrictions will end by Monday, Sept. 23 at 5 a.m.

    During the closure crews will pour new concrete roadway on Wall Street as part of our project's rebuilding of the intersection. This is the second of four weekends of paving in this heavily travelled intersection:

    • Sept. 13-16: Paving west side of Denny Way intersection [DONE]
    • Sept. 20-23: Paving Wall Street at Denny Way
    • Sept. 27-30: Paving east side of Denny Way intersection
    • Oct. 4-7: Follow-on paving work

     

    Map showing Denny Way reduced to one lane in each direction at Wall Street and Wall Street closed

    The rebuild of Seventh Avenue North reached a milestone this week when crews opened the brand-new sidewalk on the east side of the street between Harrison Street and Denny Way. Crews then closed the corresponding sidewalk on the street's west side. We are completing this work in phases to maintain routes for people driving, walking and biking in the area while conducting a total rebuild of three blocks of a major city arterial street.

    When work is complete in mid-2020 this three-block stretch of Seventh Avenue North will feature two lanes in each direction, dedicated bus lanes and new intersections at Thomas and John streets. You can follow construction's progress by signing up for our weekly construction emails.

    — more —

    Order: 1.2

  • South Dearborn Street set to reopen for Sept. 18 morning commute

    Demolition crews made quick work removing the section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct above South Dearborn Street, one of the structure's last remaining sections. As a result, the intersection of South Dearborn Street and First Avenue South will reopen Wednesday, Sept. 18 by 6 a.m. - much earlier than initially planned. By tomorrow morning First Avenue South will once again have two lanes in each direction and northbound Railroad Way South will also reopen. This video shows the work that took less than a week to complete.

    What’s next?

    Starting at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning, Alaskan Way will be narrowed to one lane in each direction near Marion Street so demolition teams can take down the one remaining span of viaduct along Seattle’s waterfront. Later this week, crews will stripe a bus-only lane on northbound SR 99 between South Spokane Street and South Dearborn Street. This lane existed during SR 99 tunnel construction and helps ensure reliable trips for King County Metro buses carrying about 30,000 passengers a day into downtown. The bus lane is scheduled to be in place by Sunday, Sept. 22 but the work is weather dependent. King County Metro's northbound buses will remain on temporary reroute until start of service on Sunday, Sept. 22.
    — more —

    Order: 1.3

  • Be prepared: Road closures at South Dearborn Street and Denny Way, and an overnight tunnel closure all happening this week

    9/13 update: The southbound detour on Seventh Avenue North has been changed and the map below updated.

    Multiple road closures are coming at the end of this week – here’s a look at what to expect to help you plan your travels.

    Demolition at South Dearborn Street begins this Thursday, Sept. 12

    This Thursday morning South Dearborn Street will close as crews begin demolishing the portion of the viaduct that remains overhead. Northbound King County Metro buses that currently turn onto South Dearborn Street from SR 99 will temporarily reroute. South Dearborn street will reopen by Sept. 22.

    Aerial of Dearborn Street showing section of viaduct to be demolished and road to be closed

    Caption: The two remaining sections of viaduct (in orange) at South Dearborn Street may not look big, but removing them is complex work due to the many underground utilities that criss-cross the area.

    SR 99 tunnel overnight closure this Friday, Sept. 13

    Both directions of the SR 99 tunnel will be closed 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 to 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 for regular maintenance. The tunnel’s northbound direction will close again at 10 p.m. Saturday night and reopen by 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 15.

    Denny Way closed this weekend with detours of Seventh Avenue North

    If weather allows crews will pour new concrete in the intersection of Denny Way and Seventh Avenue North this weekend. The work will close Denny Way between Sixth Avenue and Borealis Avenue from 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 until 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 16. As a result, Wall Street at Denny Way will also be closed, and Southbound Seventh Avenue North will be detoured at Thomas Street.

    Map showing intersection of Seventh Avenue North and Denny Way closed, with pedestrian detour route via Sixth Avenue and Borealis Avenue

    This is part of a series of weekend closures at Denny Way and Seventh Avenue that started in late August and continues into the fall. Please note that this work is weather-dependent and may be subject to change.

    — more —

    Order: 1.4

  • Viaduct demolition at Marion Street begins Friday Sept. 6

    Millions of ferry passengers have walked the Marion Street pedestrian bridge to and from Colman Dock but after decades of operation this well-travelled path is finally changing. Starting around 10:30 p.m. this Thursday night, Sept. 5, crews in charge of demolishing the Alaskan Way Viaduct will remove the bridge’s span over Alaskan Way and haul it away.

    During this work, Alaskan Way will close between Yesler Way and Madison Street. The roadway closure starts at 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 and ends by 5 a.m. Friday, Sept 6. When Alaskan Way reopens Friday morning, Marion Street will be closed at Alaskan Way as demolition teams start removing one of the last remaining double-deck sections of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

    Aerial of waterfront showing road closure sequence and viaduct segment demolition beginning September 6

    Keeping people moving

    Keeping people moving safely to and from Colman Dock is important. After the old bridge is gone, uniformed police officers will manage intersections on Alaskan Way to ensure ferry passengers can safely cross. Officers will remain in place until a new, temporary pedestrian bridge opens along with the first section of the new Colman Dock ferry terminal. Washington State Ferries’ contractor is currently completing final safety checks and certifications necessary to shift ferry operations to the new terminal.

    During the demolition across from the ferry terminal, several nearby streets will remain open. Pedestrians can use Columbia Street, Madison Street and Yesler Way to reach Alaskan Way. People with disabilities can continue to use the existing street-level elevators at Marion Street to reach the upper level of Colman Dock until new elevators at Pier 50 near the passenger-only ferry terminal are open. Ferry riders can check the WSF website for the latest information about Colman Dock construction.

    Drivers and bicycle riders should be aware that Alaskan Way will be narrowed to two lanes south of Marion Street. Anyone traveling to this area should allow extra time to reach their destination. 

    Demolition progress

    Demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is close to 90% complete. Removing the old Marion Street bridge and the remaining viaduct at Marion Street are critical steps toward reaching the demolition finish line. After Marion Street demolition, there is one final piece of disruptive work. On Sept. 12, the intersection at South Dearborn Street and First Avenue South will close for 10 days as workers remove the old ramp structure above.

    Traffic backups during the South Dearborn Street closure could be significant and we ask drivers to consider alternate routes or ways of getting around, including exiting SR 99 at Spokane Street, using transit or taking the King County Water Taxi. We appreciate people’s patience as we coordinate multiple construction projects that will ultimately keep people moving to and through Seattle.

    Want to be notified of what’s closed, what’s open, and what comes next? Subscribe to our Friday construction emails. You can also follow demolition progress on our interactive demolition map.

    — more —

    Order: 1.5

  • Viaduct demolition returns to South Dearborn Street Sept. 12

    As crews removed the viaduct along Alaskan Way this spring and summer, two small sections were left standing at South Dearborn Street. WSDOT and our contractor Kiewit left these two sections in place in order to coordinate the timing of their removal with our partner agencies.

    With demolition in its home stretch, we are ready to remove the viaduct over South Dearborn Street. On Thursday, Sept. 12, crews will close South Dearborn Street and narrow First Avenue South to two lanes on either side of the intersection to create a safe work zone. South Dearborn Street will be closed for up to ten days while crews remove the viaduct overhead.

    Aerial of South Dearborn Street with viaduct section highlighted

    Caption: The two remaining sections of viaduct (in orange) at South Dearborn Street may not look big, but removing them is complex work due to the many underground utilities that criss-cross the area.

    We and our partner agencies are very aware of how critical First Avenue South and South Dearborn Street are for bus riders and drivers heading to and from SR 99 and points south and west of downtown. Some King County Metro buses will reroute while South Dearborn Street is closed and our contractor Kiewit will pull their work zone back from Alaskan Way so the street has its full four lanes open during this closure.

    This closure will cause unavoidable disruptions to traffic and we ask drivers to make a plan for their trips: consider alternate routes or ways of getting around, including exiting SR 99 at Spokane Street, using transit or taking the King County Water Taxi. Next month will also bring demolition to the section of viaduct around Marion Street and changes for passengers arriving at Colman Dock. This construction is just one component of the #SeattleSqueeze as Seattle updates its transportation infrastructure to match the city’s mobility needs.

    — more —

    Order: 1.6

  • The viaduct’s clock is ticking in Pioneer Square

    Today you can stand on the Alaskan Way sidewalk near South Jackson Street and see both ends of the viaduct from the same spot. In Pioneer Square only about one block is left standing of the highway that once snaked its way between Belltown and SODO.

    The process of turning the aging highway into rubble has been a waterfront spectacle this spring and summer. If you haven’t had a chance to watch demolition in person, we’ve captured a close-up view of the demolition process in slow motion:

    Find our full collection of viaduct demolition videos on our videos page.

    There’s still structure left to remove, which means there are still road and lane closures to contend with. Alaskan Way remains narrowed to one lane in each direction through Pioneer Square, so allow extra time if you’re driving to and from SR 99 via Alaskan Way or First Avenue South. South Main, South Washington and South Jackson streets are also closed at Alaskan Way.

    Want to know what’s closed, what’s open, and what comes next? Browse our interactive demolition map or subscribe to our Friday construction emails.

    — more —

    Order: 1.7

  • Roads open, roads close: construction bringing changes to Alaskan Way and Denny Way

    The viaduct is shrinking along Seattle’s waterfront and the work zone is changing this week as the contractor Kiewit shifts their work zone. Meanwhile, the rebuild of Seventh Avenue North will reach Denny Way this summer and fall with a series of lane reductions and street closures. Read below for details and maps.

    Alaskan Way in Pioneer Square: Yesler and King reopen, Jackson closes

    Map showing traffic control changes on Alaskan WayCrews are removing the viaduct through Pioneer Square from both ends. See the map at right (click to enlarge). Here are traffic control changes to expect this week:

    • Today: South King Street reopens at Alaskan Way.
    • Tomorrow: Yesler Way reopens at Alaskan Way
    • Tomorrow: South Jackson Street closes at Alaskan Way.

    Uniformed police officers will help direct traffic this week at key intersections during the evening commutes.

    To reach Colman Dock: Vehicles can still enter the drive-on entrance at South Jackson Street by taking a left or right off Alaskan Way. Entering the holding area by driving straight west on South Jackson Street will be unavailable while viaduct demolition occurs overhead. Please allow extra time to reach your ferry as traffic congestion remains high on Alaskan Way.

    People walking and biking: When South Jackson Street closes, your new east-west options between Alaskan Way and Pioneer Square will be South King Street and Yesler Way. South Dearborn Street and Columbia Street also remain open to bicycles and pedestrians.

    Railroad Way South: This street will become northbound-only from South Dearborn Street, with northbound vehicles forced to take a right on South King Street. Vehicles can also turn onto southbound Railroad Way South from South King Street, but the southbound lane terminates mid-block at the 505 Western Avenue building parking garage.
     

    Utility work and paving at Denny Way and Seventh Avenue

    8/22 update: The schedule below is subject to change based on the progress of work. People walking and biking through the intersection of Seventh Avenue North and Denny Way should expect several-block detours during these weekends. Sidewalks on Denny Way between Sixth Avenue and Dexter Avenue will be closed.

    The intersection of Denny Way and Seventh Avenue is the mixing zone for two projects, the filling and sealing of the Battery Street Tunnel and the North Surface Street Connections project. Starting this month this intersection becomes a focus of work.

    Crews will be repaving sections of the intersection and installing a duct bank just east of the intersection. Due to the intersection’s importance in moving buses and vehicles, this work will occur only on nights and weekends.

    View a map of current traffic configuration in the area. Below is what to expect at the intersection of Denny Way and Seventh Avenue this summer and fall:

    • Aug. 24-25: Denny Way reduced to two lanes between Sixth Avenue and Dexter Avenue.
    • Sept. 7-8: Denny Way reduced to two lanes between Sixth Avenue and Dexter Avenue.
    • Sept. 14-15: Denny Way fully closed between Sixth Avenue and Borealis Avenue. Southbound Seventh Avenue North detoured at John Street. Wall Street closed at Denny Way.
    • Sept. 21-22: Denny reduced to two lanes between Sixth Avenue and Dexter Avenue. Wall Street closed at Denny Way.
    • Sept. 28-29: Denny Way closed between Borealis Avenue and Dexter Avenue.
    • Oct. 5-6: Contingency weekend in case of weather.

    Crews will also be working in the intersection on weekday nights, which will involve lane reductions but no full street closures. These closures are weather dependent, so subscribe to our weekly construction email or follow our Construction notices and detours page for updates.

    — more —

    Order: 1.8

  • Work filling the Battery Street Tunnel with viaduct rubble nearing completion

    The first phase of filling the Battery Street Tunnel is wrapping up, scheduled to be completed this week. Since the tunnel closed on February 1, crews have been working inside on its decommissioning and filling. Such work included retiring and removing the tunnel’s utilities and mechanical systems, removing hazardous materials and filling the tunnel to about half its height with crushed concrete rubble.

    A four-wheeled golf cart sits in the entrance to the Battery Street Tunnel which has been half filled with crushed concrete rubble

    Above: A look inside the Battery Street Tunnel, now half-filled with crushed concrete rubble from the viaduct.

    For the first phase of filling, crews used processed concrete rubble from demolished pieces of the viaduct, pouring it in from vents in Battery Street above and compacting it down with vibratory rollers. This cycle of pouring and packing continued until the tunnel was filled to about seven feet from its ceiling.

    What’s next?

    Before moving onto the next phase of filling, crews are spending the rest of this year building utilities in the tunnel. Filling the tunnel provides a unique opportunity to build sewer and electrical infrastructure. Instead of digging into an existing street, crews can layer in vaults, duct banks and sewer lines before filling in the space around them.

    Once utility work is complete, scheduled for early 2020, crews will finish filling the tunnel. Phase two entails pouring low-density cellular concrete into the tunnel from the surface. This flowable concrete will fill in the gaps in the interior top of the tunnel. 

    Graphic showing both phases of filling the battery street tunnel

    The Battery Street Tunnel portion of the project also involves work above ground, including worksite restoration and surface street improvements along Battery Street. Neighbors and travelers in the area can expect some travel or parking lanes to be temporarily closed along Battery Street between Second and Sixth avenues during the upcoming months, with crews typically working one block at a time.

    To stay up-to-date on Battery Street Tunnel construction updates (as well as construction and traffic updates for viaduct demolition and Seventh Avenue North construction), join our weekly email list. You may also contact the project via email, viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov, or by calling the 24/7 construction hotline at 1-888-298-5463.

    — more —

    Order: 1.9

  • New video: Behind the scenes of viaduct demolition

    Double-deck demolition begins in Pioneer Square

    With Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition wrapping up along Seattle’s central waterfront, demolition contractor Kiewit is turning its attention south to Pioneer Square. Yesterday, crews established a work zone around Yesler Way, across from the Colman Dock ferry terminal (see a map of street closures). They will soon begin demolishing the viaduct and working their way south. Meanwhile, another crew has already begun working on the viaduct around South Dearborn Street.

    The two crews will work toward each other and meet in the middle. In some places the viaduct sits extremely close to nearby buildings. In those tight locations, demolition teams will saw-cut the structure and lift large pieces with cranes. In most locations, giant munching machines will demolish the structure as they have done farther north along the central waterfront.

    It’s a large and challenging undertaking, one of the toughest jobs these seasoned crews have ever experienced. This new video takes you inside the work zone for a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s really like to tear down the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

    If you are traveling through the area this summer, expect lane reductions and closed roads around the work zone. To give crews space to work and keep the traveling public safely away from the demolition work, Alaskan Way will be narrowed to two lanes and cross-streets closed beneath the viaduct. Drivers should expect increased congestion during heavy driving times around the SR 99 on-ramp and off-ramp at South Dearborn Street. Vehicles will continue to be able to take left and right turns from Alaskan Way into the Colman Dock vehicle holding area at South Jackson Street.

     You can follow progress by subscribing to our Friday construction email updatesbrowsing our interactive tracker, and checking out photos of the work on our Flickr site.

    — more —

    Order: 2.0

  • Alaskan Way narrowed, First Avenue restored near SR 99 tunnel’s south portal

    Map showing traffic conditions on and near Alaskan WayCrews are demolishing the southern-most remaining section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The ramps that once carried traffic onto and off the structure are gone, and crews are working along Railroad Way South, moving their way north.

    The lane reduction on First Avenue South near South Dearborn Street has been lifted, but Alaskan Way has again been reduced to one lane in each direction between South King Street and South Dearborn Street. Drivers should expect possible increased congestion during heavy driving times around the SR 99 on-ramp and off-ramp at South Dearborn Street.

    Around July 15, a second crew is scheduled to begin preparing to demolish the viaduct starting at Yesler Way and work their way south. You can follow progress by subscribing to our Friday construction email updatesbrowsing our interactive tracker, and checking out photos of the work on our Flickr site.

    Crews will return to remove the section of viaduct above South Dearborn Street later this summer or fall.

    Click on the map at right to enlarge. 

    — more —

    Order: 2.1

  • Expect lane reductions as viaduct demolition works south to north

    The viaduct demolition contractor Kiewit is working on the viaduct’s remaining southern section around South Dearborn Street. Crews will be using several methods to remove the structure in this area, including both munching machines and cranes.

    Overhead map showing work areas for viaduct

    After removing the remaining viaduct structure south of South Dearborn Street, Kiewit will begin demolishing the viaduct by working from south to north. However, they will leave the span over South Dearborn Street standing until August.

    On or around July 12, a second crew is scheduled to begin preparing the worksite for removing the viaduct at Yesler Way. Demolition will begin about a week later, and this crew will work their way south. Working simultaneously, these two crews will work their way toward each other, removing this section of viaduct from both ends.

    Lane reductions on First Avenue South and Alaskan Way

    Crews will need safe work space to remove the viaduct, which means lane reductions and sidewalk closures for people walking, biking and driving in the area. The map at right and the list below contain the planned roadway changes over the next several weeks.

    These dates are based on the contractor's schedule and could change:

    • Tomorrow: First Avenue reduces to one lane in each direction near CenturyLink Field, south of South Dearborn Street. This narrowing will not extend past South Royal Brougham Way.
    • July: Streets between Yesler Way and South Dearborn Street will close at Alaskan Way while crews remove the viaduct running overhead.
    • Week of July 8: Railroad Way South closes both directions for four days.
    • Week of July 8: Lane reductions on Alaskan Way return north of South Dearborn Street.
    • Week of July 12: Yesler Way closes beneath the viaduct.
    • August: South Dearborn Street closes while crews remove the viaduct overhead.


    You can follow progress by subscribing to our Friday construction email updates, browsing our interactive tracker, and checking out photos of the work on our Flickr site.

    — more —

    Order: 2.2

  • New pedestrian bridge to Colman Dock being assembled (but you can’t walk on it just yet)

    June 17, 2019 update: The overnight closure of Alaskan Way scheduled for tonight and tomorrow has been moved to Wednesday and Thursday this week.

    A new pedestrian-only bridge to Colman Dock is taking shape near Seattle’s waterfront. This week and next the contractor Kiewit will place a prefabricated walkway atop columns along Columbia Street and Western Avenue. Most of the columns were poured over the past several months but the new bridge is also supported by two columns that were left in place from the Columbia Street on-ramp.

    This new bridge will connect to the current Marion Street pedestrian bridge at Western Avenue, then run via Western Avenue and Columbia Street to Colman Dock. After placing the prefabricated walkway structure, electrical work and other follow-on work will occur before the bridge is complete.

    The current Marion Street pedestrian bridge will remain open until sometime in August, when Colman Dock construction is ready to open the new bridge. After the new bridge is operational, Kiewit will demolish the narrow section of viaduct left in place over the current pedestrian bridge.

    A section of the viaduct with no structure on either side and the Marion Street pedestrian bridge running beneath it

    Above: Kiewit left this section of the viaduct standing so the pedestrian bridge beneath it can remain open during viaduct demolition.

    When removing the section of freestanding viaduct structure around Marion Street, Kiewit will also remove part of the current pedestrian bridge from Colman Dock to the edge of the building just to the east. The bridge we are building this year will stay open for about five years until the City of Seattle’s Waterfront Project builds a new pedestrian bridge at Marion Street.

    Traffic effects this week and next

    • Columbia Street is closed from Western Avenue to Alaskan Way to place the bridge spans. This block of Columbia Street is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, June 19. Sidewalks remain open.
    • Alaskan Way will close both directions between Marion Street and Yesler Way on Monday and Tuesday nights, 6/17 and 6/18 Wednesday and Thursday nights, 6/19 and 6/20. The closure will last from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and include the multi-use sidewalk on the west side of Alaskan Way. People traveling north and south along this stretch of waterfront at night should expect detours and delays.
    • Western Avenue between Marion and Columbia streets has been closed for several months while crews built the new pedestrian bridge. One northbound lane is scheduled to reopen on this block in the coming month.

     

    — more —

    Order: 2.3

  • Marching south: demolition approaches the southern end of the viaduct

    The southern stretch of the Alaskan Way Viaduct was saved for last, and now its time is coming. WSDOT's contractor Kiewit is preparing to begin work on removing the section of viaduct that remains between Yesler Way and South Dearborn Street.

    Early this Friday morning Alaskan Way will be narrowed to one lane in each direction between South King Street and South Dearborn Street. Crews will use this space to establish a work zone so they can safely begin demolition later this month on the viaduct adjacent to Railroad Way South.

    Alaskan Way is a busy arterial in this area and a key connection to SR 99. Travelers approaching downtown from the south this summer should plan for longer drive times, especially during peak commute periods and on weekends. Consider taking transit and the King County Water Taxi as a driving alternative. Access routes to Colman Dock will remain unchanged for the moment.

    View of southern end of viaduct with work zone highlighted in orange

    Above: Alaskan Way will be reduced to one lane in each direction. The orange section of the viaduct is where demolition will begin later this month

    In July the contractor will add a second crew to the job of removing the viaduct's southern section. The plans for this work, including where that crew will start along the structure, are still being refined and we will share more information in the weeks to come. Drivers should expect that at some point streets connecting Alaskan Way to First Avenue South will close beneath the viaduct, and additional stretches of Alaskan Way will be narrowed. People traveling along Alaskan Way, especially to and from Colman Dock, should expect higher than normal congestion in the area through the end of August as we conclude work on one major component of the Seattle Squeeze.

    — more —

    Order: 2.4

  • Site restoration: cleaning up after the viaduct comes down

    The process of removing the viaduct is more than just demolition work. Removing the viaduct is done in three stages: site preparation, demolition, and finally, site restoration. You can see where crews are on our viaduct demolition tracker, which is updated weekly.

    Once a portion of the viaduct has been demolished, crews must restore the work zone to its former condition. In this case, “restoration” means re-opening streets, sidewalks, and parking that was available before the removal process began.

    Two photos showing same section of waterfront, four months apart. In second photo, the viaduct is gone.
    Above: Looking north on Alaskan Way between Seneca and Marion streets, before removal and after restoration.

    The most easily visible part of site restoration is clearing the piles of viaduct rubble. The two main rubble materials – concrete and rebar – must be separated. Initial separation happens on site during processing, before rubble is loaded onto trucks and hauled south to Terminal 25 for additional sorting and processing. The concrete rubble is then hauled north to fill the Battery Street Tunnel.

    Cleanup also entails removing the “crush pad” placed on the ground before demolition began. This bedding of rock protects not only the surface of the street, but also the utilities buried below it. Site restoration includes clearing away this bedding and cleaning the ground beneath.

    Machinery sitting in the middle of a dirty intersection with no viaduct overhead

    Above: Site restoration in March 2019 at the intersection of Western Avenue and Bell Street 

    One of the last steps in site restoration is removing and filling the viaduct’s foundations. The viaduct’s support columns are connected to foundations buried beneath street level. Once the columns are munched away during demolition, crews hammer out the foundations, in most places to five feet below the surface. They then backfill the hole to prepare for final restoration activities. This time-lapse video captures demolition and site restoration at University Street along the waterfront (you can see a foundation dug out and filled in the foreground at the 0:39 mark).

    The last step is restoring the area to its “original” condition, including paving and striping the pavement, and opening it back up to parking and pedestrians.

    Restored only for a short while

    The land where the viaduct once stood will not remain static for long. Once the viaduct has been completely removed, the City of Seattle will step in to begin construction of the Waterfront Seattle project. The SR 99 tunnel was designed in tandem with a rebuilt Alaskan Way surface street, and Waterfront Seattle will build that street, along with new public spaces and an extended pedestrian promenade. Visit www.waterfrontseattle.org for more information on the project to come.

    — more —

    Order: 2.5

  • First stage of Battery Street Tunnel filling wraps up this summer

    If you’ve traveled along Battery Street recently, you may have noticed large metal containers sitting on the side of the road. These specialized hoppers are placed above the Battery Street Tunnel’s ventilation grates, and trucks pour crushed concrete rubble through them into the closed tunnel beneath. (Have you seen our video of this work in action?)

    Battery Street with cones down the middle and a steel hopper sitting on the far sidewalk

    The contractor Kiewit is filling the Battery Street Tunnel with crushed concrete salvaged from the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Working from Denny Way southwest toward First Avenue, crews spend several weeks per block filling the tunnel beneath up to about seven feet from the ceiling.

    Kiewit’s current Battery Street Tunnel working hours are 6 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Monday – Friday, with the filling from the surface stopping by 3 p.m.

    Compacting the rubble with vibration

    Inside the tunnel, Kiewit spreads the fill out along the tunnel’s old roadways and compacts it with vibratory rollers. The rollers produce vibration that may be felt in adjacent buildings. The amount of vibration felt in a nearby building will vary depending on the building’s distance from the active work area and what type of work the crews are performing. Crews may spread and compact the crushed concrete up to several blocks away from where the fill is poured into the tunnel.

    Below is the current schedule for the filling and vibratory work. The dates may change somewhat based on progress:

    Map of Battery Street with dates of work beginning on each block from Denny Way to First Avenue

     

    Lane closures

    Drivers on Battery Street should expect one lane to be closed 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. while crews are filling the tunnel beneath that block. There will be trucks, hoppers and crews working in that closed lane. Kiewit is also working with local utility companies to install utilities within the tunnel, which sometimes requires short-term lane or sidewalk closures on Battery Street or adjacent side streets. After the filling is complete, crews will return to repair the street grates and any damaged sidewalks or roadway.

    What comes next

    The crushed concrete work will wrap up this summer, filling up the tunnel to about seven feet from its ceiling. The top seven feet will be filled with a low-density cellular concrete pumped into the tunnel from the surface. This final tunnel fill work is scheduled for early 2020.

    Later phases of work will remove the grates from Battery Street’s roadway and sidewalks, and repair the holes. Crews will also install new street lighting, curb ramps and other pedestrian improvements. The project is expected to be complete by mid-2020. We provide weekly construction updates about the Battery Street Tunnel project via our construction email list. You can also contact the project by email, viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov, or by calling the 24/7 construction hotline at 1-888-298-5463.

    — more —

    Order: 2.6

  • North Surface Streets Project reaches Phase 2 ahead of schedule

    Map showing lane changes on Seventh Avenue NorthThe North Surface Streets Project is rebuilding Seventh Avenue North (formerly Aurora Avenue North) between Denny Way and Harrison Street. The finished product will be a new surface street with intersections at Thomas and John streets and dedicated transit lanes in both directions. Getting there, however, requires a series of lane configurations that keep people moving around construction.

    Starting Saturday, June 8, the Seventh Avenue North travel lanes will be moved from the outside edges of the road to the inside, running on newly poured concrete between Denny Way and Harrison Street. Drivers will still be able to take right turns on and off Thomas and John streets, but (like today) will not be able to use either street for east-west travel across Seventh Avenue North.

    This switch is occurring approximately one month earlier than originally scheduled. Moving travel lanes to the middle of the road allows the contractor to begin work on the outside lanes and sidewalks. This lane configuration will remain in place through the end of 2019.

    Bus stop and Seventh Avenue entrance to close

    The southbound bus stop between John Street and Denny Way will close on Saturday, June 8. It will be replaced when construction is complete in 2020, but until then riders should use the next bus stop on Wall Street at Fifth Avenue.

    The leg of Seventh Avenue south of Denny Way (view on Google Street View) will also close permanently on Saturday. Crews will eventually build a sidewalk across this road, simplifying the Seventh Avenue North / Denny Way intersection.

    Stay updated on work progress

    Since work began in February the contractor Kiewit has focused their work on the middle of the road, filling in the trench that once carried Aurora Avenue North traffic into and out of the Battery Street Tunnel. With the middle lanes built, Kiewit will work on the outside lanes and sidewalks. Travelers in the area should expect sidewalks along Seventh Avenue North periodically closed for construction, and short-term closures of John or Thomas streets at Seventh Avenue North. You can track these closures on our Construction Notices and Detours page.

    We provide weekly construction updates via our construction email list. You can also contact the project by email, viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov, or by calling the 24/7 construction hotline at 1-888-298-5463.

    — more —

    Order: 2.7

  • Work begins tomorrow on removing Seneca Street off-ramp

    Tomorrow crews will begin removing the Seneca Street off-ramp that looms above Seneca Street between the waterfront and First Avenue. Due to its height and proximity to nearby buildings, the contractor Kiewit will use cranes to bring the ramp’s girders down one by one.

    Crews will remove the ramp working west to east toward First Avenue. Hoe rams will hammer out the road deck before crews cut the ramp’s girders and beams. Cranes will lift the cut pieces one by one onto the ground. Machinery will munch the girders and the ramp’s columns into rubble. Kiewit used a similar approach when removing the Columbia Street on-ramp in February and March.

    Cranes lifting a beam away from the viaduct ramp

    Above: Crews lifting a girder from the Columbia Street ramp that had been cut away with saws

    Expect detours around Western Avenue and Seneca Street

    Kiewit will need to close the intersection of Western Avenue and Seneca Street while removing the ramp above the intersection. Kiewit, WSDOT and SDOT have coordinated closely on the work plan for the ramp’s removal to minimize road closures in the neighborhood. The current closure plan:

    • Wednesday, May 22: Crews begin site prep and slotting the deck near Alaskan Way.
    • Thursday, May 23: Crosswalk across Seneca Street at Western Avenue closes at 7 a.m.
    • Tuesday, May 28: Whole intersection of Seneca Street and Western Avenue closes at 4 a.m., for up to 20 days total.
    • Saturday, June 1: University Street reopens onto Alaskan Way.
    • Mid-June: Ramp fully removed, and site restoration begins.

    Take note: Between Tuesday and Saturday, May 28 – June 1, Western Avenue will be a dead-end street south of Virginia Street. Businesses and sidewalks will be open north and south of Seneca Street, but people walking, biking and driving will need to find alternate paths to cross Seneca Street. See the map below:

    Map showing Western Ave closed at Seneca Street, with detours being Wall Street to north and Spring or Madison to the south

    When University Street reopens on June 1, it will be a connection point between the waterfront and Western Avenue. The intersection of Post Avenue and Seneca Street will also close for up to seven days in late May or early June as crews remove the ramp overhead.

    What to expect from the work

    The contractor’s current plan calls for the ramp to be removed in about three weeks, with crews working only during daytime hours. Buildings adjacent to the work will be protected in the air by nets hung from cranes, and on the ground by barriers. Work hours could change based on crews’ progress, but the planned work hours are:

    • 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. weekdays
    • 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturdays
    • 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sundays

    The work will unavoidably produce noise, dust and vibration, but crews will work to mitigate those effects where possible. The process for removing this ramp is benefitting from crews’ experience working on earlier sections of the viaduct, and Kiewit has refined their methods since the project began.

    Follow up work at First Avenue in June

    After the ramp is removed, crews will need to conduct follow-up utility work where the ramp once met First Avenue. Crews will also restore the sidewalk on the west side of First Avenue and build a wall and rail in the hole where the ramp once stood. This work has not yet been scheduled, and may involve night work. We will post more details about this work on our website once the plan is confirmed.

    — more —

    Order: 2.8

  • Video: How viaduct rubble is processed for filling the Battery Street Tunnel

    Every day trucks carry viaduct rubble south to Terminal 25 along the Duwamish River for processing. There, rebar is removed, and the concrete crushed into small pieces. The processed rubble is then trucked up to Battery Street to fill the tunnel.
     
    Filling the Battery Street Tunnel from the surface has begun
    Work to decommission the aged and seismically vulnerable Battery Street Tunnel continues as crews fill the tunnel from the surface level. Trucks pour processed viaduct concrete rubble into a hopper (a sort of funnel) placed atop the Battery Street Tunnel’s old ventilation grates. The hopper contains water sprayers and rotates as it pours its contents into the tunnel to prevent dust. Inside the tunnel, the rubble falls into piles which crews spread and then compact with a vibratory roller.  The fill material will be placed and compacted up to about seven feet from the ceiling. 
     
     
    What’s ahead
    Placing the crushed concrete will last about three months. The final seven feet of the tunnel’s interior will be filled with a low-density cellular concrete; this work is scheduled to occur in late 2019 and early 2020. See our earlier post for details about work hours.
     
    Once the tunnel is filled, the vents will be removed and sealed up as part of other surface street restoration work on Battery Street scheduled for summer 2020.
     
    To receive weekly email updates about work on Battery Street, join our mailing list.
     
    — more —

    Order: 2.9

  • Lane changes coming on Seventh Avenue North as work zone expands

    Work is progressing on the three blocks of Seventh Avenue North in the South Lake Union neighborhood between Denny Way and Harrison Street. (This stretch of road used to be called Aurora Avenue North.) The North Surface Streets Project will turn what had been highway ramps and the sunken approach to the Battery Street Tunnel into a surface street with north/south bus lanes and signalized intersections at John and Thomas streets.

    Map of Seventh Avenue North showing work areas

    The project is phased to keep vehicles moving on Seventh Avenue North during construction. Next week the work zones will shift to accommodate new areas of construction. These lane configurations will be in place 24/7 for about four weeks. Here are the changes coming May 13 – 14:

    • Overnight closure: Northbound Seventh Avenue North fully closed, 9 p.m. Monday – 5 a.m. Tuesday, so crews can establish new work areas.
    • Lane Shift: Beginning Tuesday, the northbound lane of Seventh Avenue North between John and Harrison streets will be shifted onto new concrete. No turn movements will be affected.
    • Lane reduction: Beginning Tuesday, Seventh Avenue North will be reduced to one northbound lane north of Denny Way.
    • Borealis Avenue narrowed: Borealis Avenue will be tapered down to one lane to accommodate Battery Street Tunnel filling operations and to align traffic with the single lane of Seventh Avenue North that begins north of Denny. The taper will change sides of the street depending on what work activity is being performed. The bus stop will remain open.

    Removing the left lane north of Denny Way will give crews space to dismantle and fill the Battery Street Tunnel’s portal and raise the trench to ground level. Shifting the travel lane at John Street will provide space to work on Seventh Avenue North’s future outside lane between John and Harrison streets. See the map at right (click for larger version).

    Future work

    Later this month, Denny Way will be reduced to one lane in each direction for overnight utility work beneath the street. Later this summer, the contractor will move into the next major phase of the North Surface Streets Project, when Seventh Avenue North's travel lanes in both directions will be shifted into the center of the road so crews can work on the outside lanes.

    — more —

    Order: 3.0

  • Filling the Battery Street Tunnel from the surface begins next week

    The decommissioning of the Battery Street Tunnel enters a new phase next week, when the contractor, Kiewit, begins to fill the tunnel from the surface of Battery Street.

    Crews have already cleaned the tunnel of decades’ worth of automobile exhaust and removed the tunnel’s mechanical and electrical systems. They will continue to install sewer lines and conduct other utility work. But starting as soon as next week, the contractor will begin trucking in concrete rubble from the viaduct demolition and sending it into the tunnel using funnels on Battery Street. Crews removed steel rebar from the rubble and crushed the concrete into baseball-sized pieces. 

    Inside the Battery Street Tunnel, with a flat-topped pile of gravel on the left and a yellow tube descending from the ceiling at right

    Caption: The ledge at left is fill material already brought in by truck and compacted to support a new sewer line that will be placed on top. The yellow chute at right is part of the tunnel ventilation system to keep fresh air circulating for workers.

    Inside the tunnel, crews will compact the fill using a vibratory roller. The work will last at least three months as crews fill up to about seven feet from the top of the tunnel.

    Effects of construction

    One lane or sidewalk at a time will be closed on Battery Street between First Avenue and Sixth Avenue, depending on where crews are filling on a given day. The compaction happening inside the tunnel causes vibrations that may be felt on the surface and in adjacent buildings.

    Details of the work and what to expect in May and June:

    • Battery Street reduced to one lane at various locations, 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Friday.
    • Trucks dumping fill material through a specialized funnel on Battery Street, 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Friday.
    • Vibration from compaction work inside the tunnel 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.
    • Funnels and other construction equipment stored on Battery Street when not in use.

    People living, working or traveling near the work may see and feel increased noise, dust and vibration during the work hours (weekdays 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.). The filling operation ends at 3 p.m. to keep Battery Street fully open during the evening commute.

    A truck carrying a load of crushed concrete drives through the tunnel

    Caption: Side-dumping trucks like the one above will deposit fill into funnels on Battery Street.

    The Battery Street Tunnel, like the Alaskan Way Viaduct, is seismically vulnerable. Decommissioning it improves surface mobility by allowing three blocks of Seventh Avenue North (formerly Aurora Avenue North) to be rebuilt into a two-way surface street with four-way intersections and bus lanes. For a weekly email update on Battery Street Tunnel construction progress, join our email list.

    — more —

    Order: 3.1

  • Timelapse video: taking down one viaduct span

    If you live, work, shop or travel along Seattle's waterfront, chances are you've stopped to watch large machinery doing downright rude things to the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Contractor Kiewit began removing the viaduct in February, producing dramatic changes along the waterfront: 

    A stretch of the viaduct reduced to rubble with construction machinery atop the rubble in the middle

    Above: Central waterfront demolition as of April 6, 2019

    Demolition happens in a specific sequence, with the roadway deck being punched out first, then the structure's girders and columns being munched into rubble. The rubble on the ground is crunched and sorted, and then hauled away by truck. We captured a timelapse of this process from start to finish: one span being demolished over the course of about a week. 

    Want to watch the process in person? Demolition will continue along Alaskan Way all spring, with active demolition typically occuring 7 a.m. - 5  p.m. on weekdays, with occasional weekend work. You can also follow the progress online via our Twitter feed, SDOT's construction cameras along Alaskan Way, our Flickr photo set, and our own construction cameras which will soon capture the work as it moves north.

    — more —

    Order: 3.2

  • Traffic changes coming this Saturday to Seventh Avenue North at Denny Way

    The viaduct isn’t the only part of SR 99’s old downtown route that’s being methodically erased from Seattle’s landscape. Near the intersection of Denny Way and newly renamed Seventh Avenue North (formerly Aurora Avenue North) in South Lake Union, contractor Kiewit is filling in the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel.

    This Friday night, between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., crews will expand their work zone near this intersection (Google Streetview for reference). Expect lane reductions and closed sidewalks overnight while crews reconfigure traffic lights and set up cones in the intersection of Denny Way and Seventh Avenue North.

    Come Saturday morning, southbound Seventh Avenue North will be narrowed down to one lane between John Street and Denny Way. Southbound drivers approaching Denny Way will no longer be able to turn left onto Denny or Seventh Avenue; your options will be straight onto Wall Street or a right turn onto westbound Denny Way.

    This will be a big change for drivers coming off SR 99 and heading to parts of South Lake Union, downtown or Capitol Hill. Drivers taking the southbound SR 99 off-ramp to downtown will still be able to take a left on Harrison Street. The southbound bus stop on Seventh Avenue North just north of Denny Way will also remain open.

    Map showing no left turn allowed from southbound Seventh Avenue North onto Denny Way

    Above: The North Surface Streets work zone will expand Saturday, April 20. Click for larger version of map.

    The expanded work zone will give crews space to demolish part of the Battery Street Tunnel’s north portal and continue filling in the trench between the northbound and southbound lanes of Seventh Avenue North.

    Rebuilding “Seventh Avenue North”

    Decommissioning, filling and sealing the Battery Street Tunnel allows us to rebuild three blocks of Aurora Avenue North between Denny Way and Harrison Street. When work is complete in 2020, this stretch of road will look like a typical city avenue instead of highway on- and off-ramps. To reflect this change in character, the City of Seattle recently renamed these three blocks “Seventh Avenue North.” The single block of former Aurora Avenue between Denny Way and Sixth Avenue has been renamed Borealis Avenue. (Aurora borealis? Get it? You get it.)

    Kiewit is currently working on the inside, sunken lanes of Seventh Avenue North, which used to be the SR 99 approach to the Battery Street Tunnel. Crews must complete utility work, fill the portal and raise the trench to match the grade of the surrounding land, then pave new travel lanes. Once they complete this work, the travel lanes and work zone will swap places, with traffic on the new inside lanes and crews working on the outside edges of the street.

    This North Surface Streets work is scheduled to be complete in 2020. For updates on road closures in this area, subscribe to our weekly construction email.

    — more —

    Order: 3.3

  • Viaduct demolition at the two-month mark

    Viaduct demolition began in the middle of February, and these first two months have produced dramatic visual changes along Seattle’s waterfront. Here's a rundown of recent progress:

    South to north on the central waterfront

    View of viaduct being demolished in stages

    Caption: Here you can see the stages of demolition from left to right: first the top deck, then the girders and columns of the upper deck, then the lower deck.

    The largest and most eye-catching portion of removal is occurring between Yesler Way and Madison Street. The Columbia Street on-ramp is gone (save two columns that will be reused in a new, temporary pedestrian bridge) and crews are working their way north.

    View looking east across Alaskan Way, with no viaduct in sight

    Caption: The view of Columbia Street from Alaskan Way. The two standing columns seen in the background (previously used to support the Columbia Street on-ramp) will be reused to support the temporary pedestrian bridge.

    On April 10, one lane of Columbia Street reopened between First Avenue and Alaskan Way, giving a glimpse into the future of travelling along the new Seattle waterfront. The street will eventually become a two-way street and the primary bus route between downtown and Alaskan Way.

    Wide angle view of section of demolished viaduct

    Caption: Another look at the span of the viaduct that has been completely demolished, near Columbia Street.

    Building a new bridge to Colman Dock

    Worker using a small crane to lift a tube of rebar

    Caption: These cages will help form the columns supporting the new pedestrian bridge along Western Avenue.

    Crews are constructing a temporary pedestrian bridge on Western Avenue between Columbia and Marion streets, and along Columbia Street between Western Avenue and Alaskan Way. This bridge will replace the current Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge this summer as a pedestrian route between First Avenue and Colman Dock.

    The sections of the viaduct immediately adjacent to the existing pedestrian bridge have been skipped for the time being. The contractor will wait until the temporary bridge is ready to open before returning to remove this section of viaduct.

    The temporary bridge will be in place until the City of Seattle builds a new, permanent pedestrian bridge on Marion Street as part of the Waterfront Seattle Project.

    Work above the railroad tracks

    Train passing beneath viaduct, with section of viaduct removed

    Caption: The steep slope and active railroad beneath this portion of the viaduct requires a different approach to removal.

    Meanwhile, a separate crew is removing sections of the viaduct adjacent to the BNSF railroad tracks between Pine and Lenora streets. The railroad tracks and steep slope complicate this area, requiring a slower method of removal. Work entails sawcutting one piece of viaduct and lifting it off with a crane. The pieces are driven down to Terminal 25 where they are crunched up.

    Yellow crane sitting atop viaduct

    Caption: Instead of “munching” the viaduct away, crews are saw-cutting pieces and lifting them away with a crane.

    Restoring the north end

    View from viaduct deck looking north, where the viaduct has been removed

    Caption: View from Lenora Street looking north, taken Mar. 22, 2019.

    Demolition north of Pike Place Market is complete for the moment, and the work zone is being restored. The Elliott Avenue on-ramp and western half of the viaduct will be saved until the end of demolition so crews can move equipment on and off.

    Green and white construction machinery sitting among a pile of concrete rubble

    The large number of underground utilities in the area have contributed to a slower-than-expected restoration process, but the contractor plans on opening the Bell and Western intersection in a couple of weeks, and the Elliott and Blanchard intersection shortly thereafter.

    Want regular updates? Subscribe to our weekly construction email for more detailed information and the latest updates. 

    — more —

    Order: 3.4

  • Construction bringing ramp, tunnel and road closures this week and weekend

    Seattle drivers using SR 99 this week should prepare for closures and detours as crews finish work on a ramp and conduct the first regular inspection of the new SR 99 tunnel. Meanwhile, the North Surface Streets Project will be closing three blocks of Seventh Avenue North (formerly Aurora Avenue North) this weekend for paving work and temporary light installation.

    Details on each closure listed below:

    Northbound SR 99 off-ramp to Alaskan Way and downtown

    • When: Closed 9 p.m. – 5 a.m., Monday – Friday nights (4/8 – 4/12)
    • Why: Installing railing on the shoulders of the ramp
    • What this means for drivers: There will be no exits northbound on SR 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and the north end of the SR 99 tunnel. Drivers looking to reach SODO, the waterfront or the south end of downtown should use East Marginal Way, First Avenue or other surface streets.

    Southbound SR 99 tunnel

    • When: Closed 11 p.m. Friday, 4/12 – 8 a.m. Saturday, 4/13
    • Why: Regular inspection and maintenance (the northbound directional closure is scheduled for May)
    • What this means for drivers: All southbound SR 99 traffic approaching the tunnel will have to leave the highway at Harrison Street.

    Seventh Avenue North weekday

    • When: Closed 9 p.m - 5 a.m., Monday, 4/8  Thursday, 4/11
    • Where: Northbound lane closed Tuesday and Thursday nights; southbound closed Monday and Wednesday nights
    • Why: Installing temporary lighting
    • What this means for drivers: Northbound detour will be Dexter Avenue North and Harrison Street. Southbound detour will be Harrison Street and Sixth Avenue North.

    Northbound Seventh Avenue North weekend

    • When: Closed 9 p.m. Friday, 4/12 – 5 a.m. Monday, 4/15
    • Why: Paving work
    • What this means for drivers: Detour for drivers to reach the northbound SR 99 on-ramp will be Dexter Avenue North and Harrison Street. See map below:

    Map showing detour route

    Want traffic news as it happens? Follow SDOT Traffic on Twitter for Seattle traffic updates and WSDOT’s traffic Twitter account for Puget Sound highway traffic conditions.

    — more —

    Order: 3.5

  • Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge will close March 30–31 for overhead viaduct demolition

    Update 3/27/19 9:10 a.m.: The closure of the Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge has been cancelled. Kiewit has changed their work plan and will no longer need to temporarily close the pedestrian bridge. They will skip over the section of the viaduct on either side of the pedestrian bridge, coming back to remove that section after the new pedestrian bridge on Columbia Street is ready to open this summer.

    Ferry passengers and other users of the Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge should prepare for detours this weekend as the viaduct demolition contractor Kiewit will close the bridge Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31. This is a safety precaution while Kiewit removes parts of the viaduct decks above and around the bridge. Marion Street beneath the viaduct will also be closed for about a week.

    Closure sequence:

    • Tuesday morning, 3/26: Marion Street closes between Alaskan Way and Western Avenue
    • Saturday morning, 3/30: Pedestrian bridge closes beneath the viaduct
    • Sunday night, 3/31: Pedestrian bridge reopens

    Kiewit will remove parts of the viaduct deck above and around the pedestrian bridge (“slotting” the deck), while leaving the girders and columns in place. WSDOT and Kiewit know that closing the bridge is disruptive to Colman Dock travelers and so have been refining their plans to make this as short of a closure as possible. Removing this portion of the viaduct now will speed up Kiewit’s overall work schedule and reduce construction disruption this summer. After this short closure, the bridge will stay open until the new, temporary bridge being built on Columbia Street is ready to open this summer.

    Free, ADA-accessible shuttle while bridge is closed

    Kiewit will run a shuttle van while the bridge is closed. The shuttle is free and for all users, although priority will be given to people with limited mobility or who require extra accommodation. The shuttle will stop near each end of the Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge.

    Shuttle details:

    • Operating hours: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m. (during Colman Dock operating hours)
    • Frequency: Every 20–30 minutes
    • Colman Dock stop location: West side of Alaskan Way north of Marion Street
    • First Avenue stop location: East side of First Avenue between Marion and Columbia streets

    The shuttle van will drive a loop between Colman Dock and the intersection of First Ave and Marion Street. The route is below:

    Map showing shuttle route through downtown Seattle

    Other pedestrian detour options while the pedestrian bridge is closed:

    • Madison Street and Columbia Streets will both be open to pedestrians between Alaskan Way and First Avenue.
    • The pedestrian bridge stairs at Western Avenue and the elevator at Post Avenue will both be open.

    Sign up for our weekly construction email for the latest on viaduct road closures and work progress. You can learn more about construction at Colman Dock on that project’s website.

    — more —

    Order: 3.6

  • Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge closing March 19-26 for viaduct demolition

    The viaduct demolition contractor Kiewit is working their way north to south at the north end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This week their path takes them to Lenora Street. They will be removing a section of viaduct above the Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge, and as a safety precaution the bridge will be closed for about six days.

    Aerial view of Lenora St ped bridge running under viaduct

    Caption: The Lenora Street pedestrian bridge provides a route between Western Avenue and Alaskan Way. 

    During the closure, a free shuttle will provide rides between the top and bottom of the bridge.

    Shuttle details

    • Hours of operation: 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Arrival frequency: approximately every 20-30 minutes 
    • Shuttle is ADA-accessible; holds 22 passengers
    • Western Avenue stop location: Western Avenue just north of Lenora (east side of street)
    • Waterfront stop location: Alaskan Way just north of Lenora Street (east side of street)

    Other pedestrian detour options during the pedestrian bridge closure are the Bell Street Pedestrian Bridge two blocks to the north, and the Pike Street Hill Climb to the south. The Pike Place Market parking garage between Pine and Pike streets on Western Avenue also has an elevator.

    Map of Belltown showing shuttle route between Alaskan Way and Western Avenue

    Caption: Shuttle route while the Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge is closed. Click for larger version.

    You can follow Kiewit’s progress on removing the viaduct on our interactive map, and by subscribing to our weekly construction email list.

    — more —

    Order: 3.7

  • A bite out of the middle: Kiewit begins demolition of double-deck viaduct

    Demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct hits a dramatic milestone this week as the contractor begins removing the first section of the double-deck structure. Until now, the large green and white machines have been munching and hammering on the viaduct’s edges and tucked-away sections. This week, they start chewing on the viaduct’s meaty middle.

    The contractor Kiewit and their subcontractor Ferma have a multi-step schedule for taking down the viaduct that involves crews working at several locations at once. They began in mid-February at three locations: the Columbia Street on-ramp; the western half of the viaduct near Pike Street; and the very north end of the viaduct around the intersection of Western Avenue and Bell Street.

    So far Kiewit has removed 450 feet of the Columbia ramp, about 360 feet of the viaduct near Pike street, and about 650 feet of bridge at the viaduct’s north end. In all, roughly 22 million pounds of concrete and steel has been hammered and munched off the structure. Kiewit trucks the rubble down to Terminal 25, where the rebar is removed and the concrete broken into small pieces for eventual use as fill in the Battery Street Tunnel. A small amount of the concrete is being used as rubble pads in work areas. The time-lapse video below captured the work at Columbia Street:

    Over the weekend, the large muncher machine used at Pike Street was slowly moved down to Columbia Street. Crews will use that machine this week to begin demolishing the viaduct between Columbia Street and Yesler Way. First removing the top deck and then the lower deck, crews will work their way north along the waterfront. Ahead of demolition, Kiewit will fence off the work zone and prepare the area. Behind demolition, crews will clean up and restore the ground to its previous condition.

    Diagram of viaduct showing three stages of work as demolition moves south to north along viaduct

    Caption: Each work zone has three areas: prep, demolish, and restore.

    Along the waterfront, the work zones will narrow Alaskan Way to one lane in each direction. Drivers should expect congestion in those areas, especially during peak commute times. People walking and biking in the area should expect detours around the work zone when trying to go east-west beneath the viaduct. Signs will indicate the closest open side street in either direction. The shared-use sidewalk on the west side of Alaskan Way will remain open, but the path on the east side of the street will be closed when it is part of the work zone.

    — more —

    Order: 3.8

  • South Atlantic Street beneath SR 99 reopening soon

    This week crews are pouring concrete on South Atlantic Street in SODO, near its intersection with Colorado Avenue South. The street has not run east-west beneath SR 99 for years, interrupted by highway barrier and the temporary South Atlantic Street off-ramp WSDOT built as part of the SR 99 tunnel project.

    Construction across a wide street with highway overpass in background

    Above: The start of work on South Atlantic Street beneath the SR 99 overpass.

    With the tunnel open and that SR 99 off-ramp gone, crews are able to restore this street (pouring concrete so the road lasts longer under the weight of trucks coming to and from the Port of Seattle). South Atlantic Street will provide a path between Alaskan Way South and First Avenue South, and a new option for drivers going between SR 99 and East Marginal Way. The street does have a railroad crossing, which is why the overpass we opened above SR 99 in January 2014 provides important congestion relief for trucks coming to and from the Port of Seattle's Terminal 46.

    Drivers in the area should expect some road closures this week as crews pour concrete. This work schedule could also change in the event of heavy rain or low temperatures.

    Phase 1: Monday, March 4 – Thursday, March 7

    • Crews have begun pouring concrete on South Atlantic Street near its intersection with Colorado Avenue South.
    • The right-hand lane of the southbound direction of the Atlantic Street overpass ramp is closed.
    • By 7:00 am Thursday morning, crews will open a freight-only lane of eastbound South Atlantic Street beneath the overpass.

    Phase 2: Thursday, March 7 – Sunday, March 10

    • As soon as the eastbound lane is open, crews will fully close the South Atlantic Street overpass ramp.
    • During the day Thursday, crews will grind down pavement, prep the subgrade surface, and pour new concrete in the intersection.
    • Sidewalks and building access will be unaffected, but drivers entering or exiting driveways and garages on Colorado Avenue South should use South Massachusetts Street.
    • Sunday evening, the South Atlantic Street overpass ramp will reopen and the freight-only lane will close.

    Next week, crews will pour concrete for new sidewalk on the north side of South Atlantic Street. Then, on Saturday, March 16, our contractor will work with the Seattle Department of Transportation to install traffic signals and paint the roadway so by Saturday evening, South Atlantic Street can open in both directions beneath SR 99.

    This piece of work is one of the final components of the SR 99 Connections Project, one of 30 projects that together make up the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.

    — more —

    Order: 3.9

  • 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:

     

    — more —

    Order: 4.0

  • Crunch time: Demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is underway

    Contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., began demolishing the Alaskan Way Viaduct today, Feb. 15. Over the course of approximately six months, they will use large machinery to crunch, munch and cut the structure into pieces to be hauled away by truck. When the viaduct is gone, the City of Seattle will begin work on a new surface street and public open space along the waterfront.

    Demolition started today in two locations: at the Columbia Street on-ramp, and a section of the viaduct near Pike Street. Soon a third crew will begin work at the viaduct’s very north end near the intersection of Western Avenue and Bell Street. Demolition will occur in sections, with crews generally spending no more than 30 days working in each area. This video explains the demolition plan in more detail. A new interactive web tracker will provide weekly work zone progress updates.

    The demolition contract requires Kiewit to protect buildings, streets and utilities as they complete their work. They also must keep businesses open and people moving. Alaskan Way will remain open throughout demolition, though it will be reduced to one lane in each direction in areas directly adjacent to the work zone. Closures of streets that intersect with Alaskan Way will be minimized as well, to keep east-west access between the waterfront and downtown open.

    The waterfront, Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square will all be open for business throughout demolition, and will provide good vantage points for watching this historic transformation unfold. Visitors can take advantage of the free Waterfront Shuttle that runs between the downtown waterfront and three nearby neighborhoods (Seattle Center, Pioneer Square and the Central Business District). The shuttle program, extended through summer 2019, is paid for with WSDOT funding set aside to help neighborhoods most affected by the project. Information about nearby parking is available at downtownseattleparking.com.

    In addition to viaduct demolition, Kiewit’s contract includes work to decommission and seal the Battery Street Tunnel. They will also reconnect John and Thomas streets across Aurora Avenue North, just north of the Battery Street Tunnel. Those streets have been closed to east-west crossings for more than 60 years. This work will involve lane reductions and closures near the new SR 99 tunnel’s north portal.

    — more —

    Order: 4.1

  • Update on opening the northbound off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way

    The remarkable snow Seattle received last week and weekend slowed construction of the one remaining SR 99 tunnel ramp not yet open. At the tunnel’s south end, the northbound off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way remains under construction.

    This ramp is a critical link to downtown for drivers and transit coming from the south and west. Without it, there are no exits on northbound SR 99 between Spokane Street and the north end of the tunnel. This ramp was always going to open later than the rest of the tunnel, but the snow delayed some construction activities.

    With a break in the weather, crews are working to get back on track. Barring more bad weather, they hope to complete forming and pouring the barriers on the ramp in the next few days. Sand that was placed on the ramp during the storms will be cleaned up over the weekend in preparation for lane marking. Signing, lane striping, wiring and lighting also must be done before the ramp can open. The photos below show barrier work in progress.

    A section of rebar formed in the shape of a highway barrier

    Above: The rebar and conduit are in place for this section of ramp barrier, but the concrete has not yet been poured.

     

    Crew working on newly poured concrete for a highway barrier

    Above: Crew work on a section of barrier for the new off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way.

     

    Wide angle shot of south portal of tunnel with seattle skyline in background

    Above: The blankets at right are covering concrete sitting to cure.

    If the weather cooperates and work goes well, the ramp could open next week – perhaps in time for the Sounders match on Feb. 20 at CenturyLink Field. We’ll continue to provide updates as work progresses. You can watch crews work on the ramp on our construction cameras.

    — more —

    Order: 4.2

  • Work on viaduct, Battery Street Tunnel and Aurora Avenue North begins later this week

    Update 2/15/19 9:00 a.m.: The closure of Aurora Avenue North between Harrison St and Denny Way will occur tonight.

    Update 2/13/19 11:50 a.m.: The closure of Aurora Avenue North between Harrison St and Denny Way planned for tonight will be rescheduled for a later date.

    With the SR 99 tunnel open, work can begin on removing SR 99’s old route through downtown Seattle. This big project is broken up into three work areas: removing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, filling and sealing the Battery Street Tunnel, and building North Surface Street connections along Aurora Avenue North.

    The recent snow has made the start of work unpredictable, as icy roads are making it difficult to get equipment to the job site. Below is what to expect from construction this week, although further weather developments, especially icy roads, could change these plans further.

    Want to stay current on this construction as it begins? Sign up for our weekly construction email.

    Viaduct removal: What to expect the rest of this week

    • Overview:
      • The main challenge with starting viaduct demolition is having safe roads for trucks that need to carry machinery to the job site and haul away demolition debris. The new dates below could change if road conditions improve or deteriorate from what current forecasts predict.
    • Columbia Street on-ramp
      • Demolition was previously scheduled to begin today, Feb. 12. Now, due to current weather conditions, crews plan to begin later this week.
      • Crews will continue preparing the site this week in preparation for demolition.
      • Crews will work on the ramp east to west. Fencing will extend west along the structure as demolition progresses.
      • Columbia ramp removal will follow the process outlined on our website.
    • Viaduct between Blanchard and Battery streets
      • Demolition was previously scheduled to begin today, Feb. 12. Now, due to current weather conditions, crews plan to begin demolition later this week.
      • Crews will continue preparing the site this week in preparation for demolition.
      • Crews will remove the viaduct starting at Battery Street and working south. Fencing will extend south along the structure as demolition progresses.
      • Viaduct removal will follow the process outlined on our website.
    • Viaduct between Pike and Virginia streets
      • Demolition was previously scheduled to begin today, Feb. 12. Now, due to current weather conditions, crews plan to begin demolition later this week.
      • Crews will continue preparing the site this week in preparation for demolition..
      • Viaduct removal will follow the process outlined on our website.

     

    Battery Street Tunnel: What to expect the rest of the week

    • Initial work will take place inside the tunnel, as well as staging equipment and trailers at the south end of the tunnel.
    • While crews are working in the tunnel, the ventilation fans will run intermittently from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Keeping the fans on provides fresh air for crews working in the tunnel. This safety measure will be maintained until fall 2019.
    • Crews will place plastic sheeting at the Battery Street Tunnel’s north end. This sheeting helps contain debris generated from the early work occurring inside the tunnel.

     

    North surface streets: What to expect the rest of the week

    • An overnight closure of Aurora Avenue North between Harrison Street and Denny Way had been planned for Feb. 11. This been rescheduled.
    • The closure could occur as early as tomorrow night, or at a later date depending on weather, transit and construction considerations. During the closure, the southbound lane will be closed 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. The northbound lane will close an hour later, at 9 p.m., and will also reopen by 5 a.m.
    • This closure will allow crews to install protective barrier around the center median work zone where the first phase of this project will occur.
    • Visit King County Metro's website for the latest on bus routes during inclement weather.
    — more —

    Order: 4.3

  • 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

     

    — more —
  • 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.

        

    — more —

    Order: 4.4

  • Know before you go: the SR 99 tunnel’s new ramp intersections

    The Feb. 4 opening of the SR 99 tunnel brings big changes to several important intersections at the tunnel’s north and south ends. New intersections can be confusing, so use the renderings below to help familiarize yourself with what you will encounter on the road. You can also preview the intersections via narrated videos.

    North end of the tunnel: Harrison Street and Aurora Ave North

    What’s changing:

    • New northbound SR 99 on-ramp
    • New southbound SR 99 off-ramp
    • Harrison Street open east-west across Aurora Avenue North

    The new tunnel dives underground at Harrison Street, several blocks north of where the now-closed Battery Street Tunnel begins. The new intersection of Harrison Street and Aurora Avenue North is where the northbound on-ramp begins, and the southbound off-ramp ends. Harrison Street  is now also open east-west across Aurora Avenue North.

    Rendering of Harrison and Aurora intersection

    Note: Construction begins this month on the inside lanes of Aurora Avenue North between Denny Way and Harrison Street (yellow zone at bottom). Learn more about how the North Surface Streets project is rebuilding Aurora Avenue North.

    North end of the tunnel: Republican Street and Dexter Avenue North

    What’s changing

    • New northbound SR 99 off-ramp

    The intersection of Republican Street and Dexter Avenue North is where the northbound SR 99 off-ramp ends. New signals will control traffic coming off the highway. From the off-ramp drivers will be able to turn left toward Mercer Street, head straight toward South Lake Union, or turn right to head toward Denny Way. Stay alert for people using the Dexter Avenue bike lanes on both sides of the street.

    Dexter and Republican intersection rendering

    South end of the tunnel: Alaskan Way, South Dearborn Street, and First Avenue South

    What’s changing:

    • New southbound SR 99 on-ramp
    • New northbound SR 99 off-ramp [NOT YET OPEN]
    • New east-west street, South Dearborn Street
    • New primary path between First Avenue South and Alaskan Way
    • Alaskan Way extended farther south

    One of the biggest changes to surface streets is at the tunnel’s south end, just west of CenturyLink field. Alaskan Way no longer ends with a jog under the viaduct onto Railroad Way South. Instead, it continues straight to a new intersection with a new road, South Dearborn Street.

    South Dearborn Street is the new east-west connection between Alaskan Way and First Avenue South. This intersection connects SR 99, Alaskan Way and First Avenue. Alaskan Way continues south from this intersection toward East Marginal Way South. Railroad Way South is currently closed from First Avenue South, and when it reopens it will be a local-access-only road.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The northbound SR 99 off-ramp bridge is still under construction and will open one to two weeks after the tunnel opens.

    Dearborn and Alaskan intersection rendering

    Note: The rendering above does not show the now-closed Alaskan Way Viaduct, which sits in the yellow-highlighted work zone and will be removed section by section over the next six months.

    South end of the tunnel: South Royal Brougham Way and First Avenue South

    What’s changing:

    • New northbound SR 99 on-ramp
    • New southbound SR 99 off-ramp
    • Colorado Avenue South with two-way traffic to South Atlantic Street

    Drivers who previously joined SR 99 northbound from Royal Brougham Way will find striking changes to that intersection. Where once there was a ramp to the viaduct, now there are two ramps to the tunnel. This is where southbound drivers in the tunnel will exit to reach SODO, the stadiums, and I-90 and I-5. This is also where drivers coming from I-90 or the stadiums will enter the tunnel for northbound SR 99.

    Royal Brougham Way and First Ave intersection rendering

    Note: A shared-use path along Colorado Avenue South will be built in a future phase of the project.

    South end of the tunnel: South Atlantic Street and Colorado Avenue South

    What’s changing:

    • New surface-street connection to Alaskan Way South
    • Colorado Avenue South with two-way traffic to Royal Brougham Way South

    The changes around South Atlantic Street are less drastic but still worth knowing. The Atlantic Street overpass over SR 99 is now a complete connection to Alaskan Way (to the north) and East Marginal Way South (to the south). You can now reach both via South Atlantic Street by taking the ramp labeled below.

    Colorado Avenue South (previously called East Frontage Road) is now a two-way street, providing a north and south route between South Atlantic Street and SR 99 on- and off-ramps. A common path from SR 99 southbound to reach I-90 will be to take Colorado Avenue south, then take a left turn onto South Atlantic Street.

    South Atlantic Street and Colorado Ave intersection rendering

    Note: At tunnel opening South Atlantic Street does not pass beneath the SR 99 overpass to Alaskan Way South. That connection will open later in winter/spring 2019.

     

    — more —

    Order: 4.5

  • 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:
    — more —

    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

    — more —
  • 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.
    — more —

    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:
    — more —

    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:
    — more —

    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:
    — more —

    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:
    — more —

    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.

    — more —

    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:
    — more —

    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:

     

    — more —

    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. 

    — more —
  • 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. 

     

    — more —

    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. 

     

    — more —
  • 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. 
    — more —
  • 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. 

    — more —

    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.
    — more —
  • 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.  
     
    — more —
  • 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. 
    — more —

    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. 

    — more —
  • 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. 

    — more —
  • 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.  
    — more —

    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. 

     

    — more —

    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. 
    — more —
  • DAILY UPDATE: Latest on Realign99 closure

    Read the daily construction and traffic updates for the #Realign99 closure.

    — more —
  • Road to tunnel’s south portal begins to take shape this weekend

    The new SR 99 tunnel’s south portal sits just west of Pioneer Square and the stadiums, on the southwest corner of downtown. One big piece of work to be accomplished during the #Realign99 closure is building a new street connecting the south portal’s on- and off-ramps to First Avenue South.

    That one-block street will be called South Dearborn Street, as labeled in the rendering below:

    Rendering of south tunnel portal with South Dearborn Street labeled

    Building South Dearborn Street requires removing part of the ramp structure (see it on Google Maps) that today carries northbound SR 99 from the construction detour up onto the viaduct. Crews will demolish the ramp this Saturday and Sunday, crunching the concrete in daytime hours while working on the future intersection’s traffic lights at night. The work will close Railroad Way South for the weekend; our Construction Notices and Detours page has more information.

    Yesterday Rhine Demolition, the subcontractor doing the demolition, moved equipment into the work site:

    Heavy machinery sitting adjacent the viaduct ramp, with stadium in background

    While this is technically demolition work, removing this section of ramp is not the start of true viaduct demolition. This short span of ramp is the only part of the structure that will be taken down before the new tunnel opens. The full-fledged viaduct demolition is scheduled to begin in early-mid February.

    With the ramp down, crews can pave the new South Dearborn Street beneath the (closed) southbound SR 99 ramp structure and build the new intersection with First Avenue South. Our new videos offer more detail on how South Dearborn Street works for northbound drivers getting off SR 99 right before the tunnel, or southbound drivers getting onto southbound SR 99 right after the tunnel.

    — more —

    Order: 5.9

  • Rolling with it: How the SR 99 tunnel is designed to withstand earthquakes

    You’ve heard it before but it bears repeating: the primary purpose of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program is safety. The viaduct is an aging and seismically vulnerable structure, and retiring it from our highway network will make us all safer.

    It’s not just addition by subtraction. We are replacing the viaduct with a modern tunnel, built with sophisticated systems that work together to keep vehicles moving and drivers safe. Learn more about how the tunnel’s systems work on our new Tunnel Safety page.

    The viaduct’s vulnerability to earthquakes was the biggest motivation for its replacement, and here is another way the new tunnel shines. As it happens, tunnels are a rather safe place to be in an earthquake. If you find this counterintuitive, we’ve produced a video in conjunction with seismic and structural experts to help us explain:

    Engineers in our earthquake-prone region designed the tunnel to withstand a strong earthquake – roughly one that happens every 2,500 years. This would include a magnitude 9 earthquake off the coast of Washington, where the Juan de Fuca plate of the earth’s crust forms the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The tunnel design also takes into account earthquakes that might occur along the Seattle Fault.

    There are many design elements that work together to create a safe tunnel:

    • Structure: The SR 99 tunnel is built with more than 1,400 strong concrete and steel rings, each 6.5 feet wide. These rings are bolted together to form the tunnel, and while very sturdy, they have some flexibility to account for ground movement. This means they can move and return to their round shape. The roads inside are also designed to be flexible, allowing them to move with earthquake waves and remain functional.
    • Shape: The round tunnel can withstand lots of pressure from the outside – much like a submarine underwater keeps its round shape and withstands oceanic pressure.
    • Location: Tunnels that are deep underground experience less movement from the energy waves of earthquakes. Those energy waves increase in size as they approach the surface, so a tunnel will not experience the same degree of movement as an above-ground structure like a viaduct.

    The inherent advantages of a tunnel, combined with state-of-the-art seismic engineering, means the new SR 99 tunnel is designed to stand up to future earthquakes.

    — more —

    Order: 6.0

  • Getting around when the tunnel opens

    January 2019 marks the start of a series of dramatic changes to Seattle’s traffic landscape. The Alaskan Way Viaduct will close permanently as crews rebuild portions of State Route 99 to move it off the viaduct and realign it with the new tunnel.

    When the new SR 99 tunnel opens in early February, getting to and from Seattle via SR 99 will be a very different experience for drivers than it is today.

    The tunnel is a direct, 2-mile trip underneath downtown Seattle. The tunnel entrances and exits, near Seattle’s Space Needle to the north and the stadiums to the south, work differently than the entrances and exits on the viaduct.

    These four new videos are designed to help you understand some of the changes ahead and how to get around when the new tunnel opens. Watch to learn:

    The tunnel will be free to use when it first opens, with tolling starting as soon as summer 2019.

    We expect it could take weeks or months for traffic patterns to settle down as drivers try different routes to get to and from their destinations.

    Counting down to the viaduct closure

    At 10 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 4, the SR 99 on-and-off-ramps close near the stadiums. An estimated 22,000 vehicles a day use those ramps.

    At 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, the Alaskan Way Viaduct closes between South Spokane Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel. During this time, both the viaduct and the tunnel will be closed. This disruption is unavoidable due to the large amount of work needed to realign SR 99 into the new SR 99 tunnel.

    After the new tunnel opens in early February, it will take up to two additional weeks to complete the northbound off-ramp into downtown Seattle – meaning the closure will cause up to six total weeks of traffic disruptions.

    Make a plan. Now.

    About 90,000 vehicles a day use the viaduct. Our roads and highways will become gridlocked if every driver decides to stay in their cars. This is why regional transportation agencies are asking everyone to make a plan to get around differently during the 3-week viaduct closure.

    Resources and ideas are available from WSDOT, King County Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation.

    — more —

    Order: 6.1