Drivers and transit users, pay heed: there are 14 days to get ready for a closure of the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct through downtown Seattle. Starting Friday, April 29, the Washington State Department of Transportation will close the viaduct between South Spokane Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel.
This closure is expected to start prior to the morning commute and last approximately two weeks as the SR 99 tunneling machine Bertha digs underneath the roadway near Yesler Way.
Roughly 90,000 vehicles use the viaduct each day. Because the structure is one of three major north/south highways in the greater Seattle area, WSDOT expects this closure to have a significant effect on the region’s commute.
Some options for commuters to consider:
- New ways to commute: The recently opened Sound Transit University Link Extension can take commuters from the University District to downtown in eight minutes. In addition, Seattle’s new First Hill Streetcar can carry more commuters to downtown.
- Alternatives to driving: Take the bus with King County Metro. Share a ride in a carpool, vanpool or van share. Explore other transit options using the Puget Sound Trip Planner. Remember that while taking transit is a great alternative to driving, buses are expected to be crowded during the closure.
- Take the water taxi: King County Water Taxi is adding extra trips to and from Vashon Island to Colman Dock. There will be additional parking in West Seattle for the water taxi’s new, larger-capacity boat.
- Work from home: Many employers offer options to work from home. Even teleworking one day a week will help ease congestion.
- Adjust the work schedule: If possible, adjusting a work schedule can help avoid the longer commutes. Rush hours will start earlier and end later than normal. Use WSDOT’s travel tools or SDOT’s traveler information page to plan your trips.
- Consider biking or walking for the last part of a trip into downtown to avoid the heaviest congestion.