Carmageddon starts tonight when 99 shuts down for 2 weeks
If you haven’t heard the news, surprise! 99 is going to shut down starting tonight for 2 weeks. 99 will be closed at 12:01am Friday, April 29, between South Spokane Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel.
Will it be bad? Remember the fish truck incident on 99? And, consider that 99 is the preferred route for 90,000 cars each day. Even with preparations and a heads up, traffic will be bad. It’s still unclear how it will affect Queen Anne, but don’t be surprised if there are extra cars on the surface streets and Elliott/15th Ave W.
Here’s the official news from WSDOT:
Alaskan Way Viaduct closes Friday – It’s not too late to make a plan
SEATTLE – On-ramps to the State Route 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct will begin closing at 10 p.m. tonight, Thursday, April 28, and the road will be fully closed at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 29, between South Spokane Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel.
The Washington State Department of Transportation urges all drivers to consider alternate commutes as the closure takes 90,000 vehicles off one of Seattle’s two north/south highways. The website 99closure.org has resources and ideas for commuters throughout the Puget Sound region.
“Whether you drive or take the bus or train, everyone should have a backup plan,” said Dave Sowers, WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct deputy program administrator. “And make sure you have a plan for the weekend as well. Seattle has Mariners games, a Sounders game and Sunday’s May Day activities all scheduled this weekend.”
WSDOT, the Seattle Department of Transportation, King County Metro and many other public agencies are working together to help lessen the effects of the closure. They will provide real-time traffic monitoring, police officers at key intersections to keep traffic moving, additional water taxi runs, additional response vehicles to clear accidents and more.
Tips to create a viaduct closure plan:
- Take the bus, train, or water taxi to work. Bus commuters should check to see the changes in place for routes that normally use the viaduct
- Carpool or vanpool
- Bike to work
- Adjust your work hours or work from home
- Have a backup plan for picking up and dropping off children at daycare and after-school activities
- Know before you go – using WSDOT’s travel tools or SDOT’s travelers information page
The SR 99 tunneling machine Bertha will build more than 350 feet of tunnel past Yesler Way to clear all the foundations of the viaduct. WSDOT is closing the road to better monitor the structure and avoid any unplanned closures.
Traffic Alert: Bruce Springsteen at Key Arena tonight and Sakura-Con this weekend
Heads up if you have plans that involve navigating around Key Arena tonight, Thursday, March 24th – Bruce Springsteen will be performing at the Key, with doors opening at 6pm.
SDOT has not provided a number for estimated attendees, but it’ll number in the thousands. Expect impacts on both traffic and parking around Lower Queen Anne/Uptown.
A second heads up: Sakura-Con is at the Washington State Convention Center tomorrow, Friday, March 25th through Sunday, March 27th. This anime convention is incredibly popular, with over 20,000 people expected each day, many will likely hop over to the Seattle Center to see the sights.
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).
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:
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.
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:
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.
Plan ahead, for next week, and stay tuned for a January reminder about the extended January closure.