Several weeks of Aurora lane closures begin Monday, January 18th

Back in December, we first gave the heads up on the upcoming Aurora Ave N lane closures that will surely impact traffic on both Aurora and Queen Anne. The closures begin the evening of next Monday, January 18th, and WSDOT estimates that the lane closures will take “several” weeks, with estimates from 4-8 weeks. Each direction of Aurora will have one lane closed through potentially March (timetable below).

January Aurora Closure

SDOT is emphasizing the following warning to drivers:

“While two lanes in each direction of SR 99 between Highland Drive and the Aurora Bridge will remain OPEN during peak commute hours, buses and vehicles will share the bus-only lane. We anticipate the possibility of backups and are urging commuters to use all the tools available to them from WSDOT, SDOT and Metro to stay informed about current traffic conditions once the extended lane closures start.  In addition, we want to ask drivers to consider commuting/traveling in off-peak hours or telecommute if that’s an option available to them.”

Why the closure? Sign foundations with communication lines, power lines, and traffic sensors to provide alerts for the future tunnel. This work requires access to the median lanes of Aurora.

Here are the closure details & timetable from WSDOT:

Jan. 18 through mid-February

  •  Median lanes close in both directions between the Aurora Bridge and Highland Drive
  • An additional lane will close at night and during several weekends including Jan. 23-24

Mid-February through early March

  • Median lanes reopen. Northbound traffic returns to normal pattern
  • The southbound curb lane near Comstock Street will close for approximately three weeks
  • An additional southbound lane may close at night

WSDOT is encouraging drivers and bus riders to plan ahead as additional congestion is expected on Aurora. For those of us on Queen Anne, expect more non-local traffic in the neighborhood, especially on the arterials and East Queen Anne.

Aurora Bridge sidewalk closure January 18 through September

As part of the restoration/painting work on the Aurora Bridge, pedestrians, runners, and cyclists need to take note of an extended closure of the northbound (east side) sidewalk. This closure begins Monday, January 18th and runs through September. During this time, sidewalk-users will be directed to the opposite southbound (west side) sidewalk.

Reminder: there are also upcoming extended lane closures planned for Aurora between the Aurora Bridge and Highland Ave that start the same night, January 18th that are estimated to run 7-8 weeks. We will post a reminder about these closures shortly, the original heads up is at the bottom of this post.

Here are the details from WSDOT:

Aurora Bridge sidewalk“Cyclists and pedestrians should prepare now for an extended closure of the northbound sidewalk over the State Route 99 Aurora Avenue Bridge in Seattle.

The sidewalk will be closed Jan. 18 through September with signed detours in place for cyclists and pedestrians.

The closure is necessary while contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation attach a containment system to the sidewalk for the Aurora Avenue Bridge preservation project.  Drivers may also notice the containment system which is a large tarp that will stretch up and over the bridge’s safety fence. The system is designed to keep paint and debris falling into the water below while crews repaint portions of the bridge.

A contact number and emergency phone for a vehicle pickup will be available at either end of the bridge to assist ADA users who are unable to use the cyclist and pedestrian detour.”

Proposed light rail routes on tonight’s Queen Anne Community Council agenda

Tonight’s Queen Anne Community Council meeting is kicking off the year with an important topic to all residents and business owners – light rail options that could impact Queen Anne.

The four light rail routes proposed run from downtown to Ballard, but there are several options. Three run through Interbay, two of which are at grade, the other would include a tunnel. You can read the full documentation on these routes here.

Light Rail options


Representatives from Sound Transit will be at tonight’s QACC meeting to explain the routes and answer questions. The QACC will be submitting a letter to the Mayor’s office with its preferred option.

Attend tonight’s meeting to learn more about the proposed light rail and have your voice heard. The QACC meets at 7:30pm tonight, Wednesday, January 6th at Queen Anne Manor (100 Crockett Street).

Aurora nighttime lane closures start Monday, plus full closure next weekend

WSDOT will be closing one lane of Southbound 99/Aurora for tunnel work next week, Monday through Thursday nights. Then, next Friday, both Northbound and Southbound 99/Aurora will be completely closed between the Battery Street Tunnel and Valley Street. The following weekend brings more nightly lane closures. From WSDOT:

Aurora lane closures DecMonday, Dec. 14 through Thursday, Dec. 17 – One lane of southbound SR 99 will be closed between Roy and Mercer streets from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. nightly.

Friday, Dec. 18 and Saturday, Dec. 19 – SR 99 will be closed between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and Valley Street from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Saturday. Details below:

– All northbound lanes of SR 99 will be closed during this time
– All southbound will be closed from 9pm Friday to 7am Saturday
– One southbound SR 99 lane will remain closed between Valley and Thomas from 9pm Friday until 1pm Saturday

Monday, Dec. 21 and Tuesday, Dec. 22 – One lane of southbound SR 99 will be closed between Roy and Mercer streets from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. nightly.

Think of these mini-closures as preparation for 7 weeks of lane closures that begins in mid-January. Between the Aurora Bridge and Highland Dr, one lane in each direction will be closed around the clock for approximately seven weeks. An additional lane will be closed at night when there is less traffic on the road and on some weekends to provide additional work zone for the contractor. One lane will remain open during this work.

January Aurora Closure

Plan ahead, for next week, and stay tuned for a January reminder about the extended January closure.

Traffic Alert: Trans-Siberian Orchestra & Seattle Marathon will impact traffic this weekend

Two traffic alerts for today and tomorrow – Trans-Siberian Orchestra is at Key Arena today, Saturday, for performances at 4pm and 8pm. The city estimates 10,000 people will attend each of the shows (20,000 total), so expect traffic around Key Arena this afternoon and evening.

The bigger impact will likely be from the Seattle Marathon, which is tomorrow, Sunday, November 29th. The organizers cite the Seattle Marathon as the “largest combination marathon/half marathon in the Northwest and one of the top ten largest in the US” – what does that mean? 15,000 participants + thousands of spectators, and road closures around the Seattle Center, where the race starts and finishes.

The race map with street closures is below. For some reason, the Seattle Marathon organizers have once again decided to produce a West-oriented map, instead of the standard North-oriented view. So, it may look a bit odd, but note that 5th Ave near the Seattle Center will be closed 5:30am-9am, and one side of Mercer will be closed 8:45am-4pm.

Click the map for a larger image:

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 1.34.42 PM

And, just to make things a bit more complicated, traffic-wise, the Seahawks are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at CenturyLink tomorrow (Sunday), with kickoff at 1:25pm.

President of Ireland visits Seattle this week with stops at Seattle Center

President Higgins and Sabina

Official photo of President Higgins and Sabina Higgins

The President of Ireland is visiting Seattle this week, arriving tomorrow, Wednesday, October 21st. President Michael Higgins and his wife Sabina will be around Queen Anne, as well as at UW and Microsoft. Unlike President Xi’s visit, there is a travel agenda to help you anticipate the traffic impacts:

Wednesday, October 21: 
President Higgins will meet with Mayor Ed Murray in City Hall, then he and his wife will visit the Chihuly Gardens and the Space Needle.

Thursday, October 22:
In the morning, President Higgins will be on the Eastside at Skyline High School in Sammamish, then Microsoft in Redmond. But, he’ll head back over to Queen Anne for an evening reception at McCaw Hall.

Friday, October 23:
The President will be at the University of Washington for a keynote address and in the evening at the Chihuly Boathouse at the top of Lake Union (near the Ship Canal Bridge).

President Higgins departs Seattle for San Francisco on Saturday.

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