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Originally published October 28, 2011 at 12:45 PM | Page modified October 29, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Alaskan Way Viaduct to reopen midday Saturday

The state Department of Transportation just announced that the Alaskan Way Viaduct will reopen by midday Saturday, because demolition has gone well all week.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Viaduct closed until Saturday, Oct. 29

THE ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT will close as the state begins replacing the aging structure. Expect major delays on Highway 99, Interstate 5, the West Seattle Bridge and neighborhood streets as drivers are forced to detour. Give yourself extra time for travel.

Project schedule: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, to midday Saturday, October 29. The viaduct was expected to reopen at 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31, but demolition moved faster than planned.

Northbound lanes: Highway 99 from the West Seattle Bridge to South Royal Brougham Way, near the stadiums, will be closed. The northbound onramp near First Avenue South, and northbound lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, are now open 24 hours a day, from Royal Brougham Way to South Lake Union.

Southbound lanes: The portion from the Battery Street Tunnel to the West Seattle Bridge will be closed.

More resources

Viaduct closure guide: Interactive and printable maps for driving, bicycling and taking mass transit

The Today File: The latest news on the viaduct closure

Chat rewind: Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom answers reader questions

Have a question? Ask reporter Mike Lindblom and read his answers to commuter questions

Related stories: How to get around while the viaduct's closed, thousands say goodbye to viaduct, Alaskan Way Viaduct to reopen midday Saturday

More links: Metro website, WSDOT website, WSDOT viaduct camera, live traffic cameras

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quotes Nice job getting it done early. Read more
quotes The destruction guys/gals finish the job early (congrats!) and all the posters here can... Read more
quotes Wait there are 6 lanes through the Battery Street tunnel? Read more

The state Department of Transportation just announced that the Alaskan Way Viaduct will reopen by midday Saturday, because demolition has gone well all week.

The northbound lanes already are open from Royal Brougham Way to the Battery Street Tunnel and South Lake Union. The rest of the highway had been scheduled to reopen Monday morning, with a detour route where the southern end of the viaduct used to be.

Commuters this week have endured occasional periods of "Viadoom," where the loss of about 90,000 vehicles worth of daily highway capacity led to traffic jams. The worst occurred Thursday afternoon, when diverting drivers and stalls on other highways caused congestion as far out as Shoreline and Bothell. But overall, driving declined by perhaps 20 percent, analysts said.

Starting Saturday, drivers will go through the Sodo section of Highway 99, where four lanes of traffic will squeeze onto a new Viaduct overpass at the train tracks. Then the detour curves through a 25 mph zone. The speed limit for the entire Viaduct, including the waterfront, has been reduced to 40 mph. The detour will remain in effect until the start of 2016, when the state is scheduled to open a downtown bypass and stadium interchange, altogether a $3.2 billion replacement for the 1950's vintage elevated highway.

The demolition, by Skanska USA and Rhine Demolition, reduced more than 2,800 feet of highway to rubble. "Thank you to the hard workers on this project, and the people of the region who were patient, found alternate routes and adjusted their schedules. Everyone showed a great spirit of cooperation," said Gov. Chris Gregoire in a statement.

King County Metro said its buses will return to normal routes on Highway 99 and in Sodo, starting Sunday. The Seahawks play a home game Sunday at 1:15 p.m.

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