By Joe Veyera
Ballard drivers that make use of State Route 99 and the Alaskan Way Viaduct are being urged to start planning an alternate route to their destinations, in preparation of upcoming closures to the stretch starting later this week.
From 10 p.m. this Friday, August 22, to 5 a.m. Monday, Aug. 25, SR 99 will be closed in both directions between South Spokane Street and Valley Street. However, because of the traffic expected to accompany the Seahawks preseason matchup with Chicago at Centurylink Field on Friday night, northbound 99 will remain open at South Royal Brougham way and southbound 99 will remain open from the Columbia Street on-ramp until midnight.
Just before the start of the Monday morning commute, crews will reopen the stretch south of the Battery Street Tunnel, but the highway will remain closed through the tunnel to Valley Street for a rare weekday stretch until 5 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27. Northbound drivers will be forced to exit at either Seneca Street or Western Avenue.
“We need Seattle commuters to plan ahead for this closure,” said Dave Sowers, deputy administrator for the WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, in a press release. “The section of 99 we’re closing Monday and Tuesday is shorter in length than what we’re closing that weekend, but it has the potential to create longer backups and delays both on city streets and I-5.”
The Washington State Department of Transportation says the four-day closure is needed for contractor crews working for WSDOT to demolish and replace the section of 99 over Broad Street, which will become part of the permanent connection between the new tunnel’s north portal and a new surface street section of Aurora Avenue North. The extended closure will also be used to reroute the water and sewer lines underneath 99 near Harrison Street, and contractor crews will be working to replace 81 damaged/cracked concrete road panels between South Spokane and South Holgate streets. They will also repair an expansion joint at the northbound 99 exit to Seneca Street.
WSDOT has also released its recommendations to help mitigate the effects of the closure:
- Allow plenty of extra travel time
- Leave early or delay your trip to avoid traveling during peak commute periods in the morning and afternoon
- Delay or reschedule discretionary trips
- Consider telecommuting
- Use King County Metro during off peak hours, or share a ride in a car or vanpool
- If you must drive, know before you go and use WSDOT’s travel tools
For more information on the closures, click here.