Viaduct closure guide: Prepare for traffic if you plan to drive
Prepare for traffic if you plan to drive during the nine-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct from Oct. 21, 2011 to Oct. 31, 2011.
Seattle Times transportation reporter
The viaduct will be open — northbound only — from the stadium onramp during the daytime and during sporting events at CenturyLink Field.
West Seattle Bridge traffic will be slow. Drivers can get off at First Avenue South — where the city's one-lane workzone exit will be opened to two lanes — or try the new Fourth Avenue South loop ramp into Sodo, where the city's traffic lights are well-timed.
A dilemma for residents farther south is where to cross the Duwamish River.
Interstate 5 does the trick, but it will be more jammed than usual. Motorists could exit early to northbound Highway 599 in Tukwila, but that leads to bottlenecks at the First Avenue South bridge.
An alternative is the Interstate 5 exit to Airport Way, which has room but slows through the resurgent Georgetown business district. The city helped by postponing a seismic project on Airport Way at the Argo railyard bridge.
Or follow nearby East Marginal Way South, to either First or Fourth avenues South. A ways north, Seattle DOT will suspended ramp construction at First and Spokane so two through lanes will flow in each direction.
Martin Luther King Jr. Way South can be a good route, though it clogs after the merge with Rainier Avenue South near Franklin High School. The speed limit is 35 mph, and traffic lights are timed to match the Link trains in the median.
From White Center and Burien, a tricky way to avoid the First Avenue South Bridge mess is to begin at South 116th Street and wind downhill to Tukwila International Boulevard — which crosses the river near Boeing Field. Likewise, go from the Southcenter area or exit early from 599 onto Interurban Avenue South, which crosses a short Duwamish bridge.
Heading south from downtown in the afternoon, try taking Second Avenue all the way through until it merges with Fourth Avenue South near King Street Station.
From South Lake Union, try Boren Avenue to 12th Avenue South, then the Jose Rizal Bridge to either 15th Avenue South or Beacon Avenue South, dropping to the West Seattle Bridge route at South Spokane Street.
People commuting from the north and wanting to avoid I-5 can take Highway 99, but might want to exit early at Dexter Avenue North rather than at Denny Way where the highway will be blocked.
To avoid both I-5 and Highway 99, try taking Holman Road through Ballard, continuing on either West Nickerson Street toward South Lake Union, or Elliott Avenue West to downtown.
Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or email@example.com
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