File photo

File photo

Seattle area braces for three-week SR 99 closure

Expect more congestion, longer commutes

State Route 99 will be closed for three weeks of construction starting Friday, Jan. 11. The closure begins near the West Seattle Bridge and stretches all the way to the southern end of the Battery Street tunnel.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), this is the largest highway closure that the Puget Sound region has ever seen. As a result, local residents must plan around high levels of traffic spilling across the greater Seattle metropolitan area until construction finishes in early February.

WSDOT is closing the highway to realign it into a new tunnel parallel to the Alaskan Way Viaduct, with eight new ramps connecting the tunnel to city streets. However, when State Route 99 reopens in February, the viaduct will stay closed until the city begins demolition later in the month.

As a result of the closure, commute times are likely to increase along major routes including Interstate 90 and State Route 520 between Bellevue and Seattle, according to WSDOT studies from the 2016 closure of the viaduct. The same statistics suggest commuters could spend an extra 30 minutes in their cars on Interstate 5 between Federal Way and Seattle, and between Everett and Seattle.

“There are 90,000 vehicles that travel the viaduct every day,” said Laura Newborn, media relations for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. Newborn recommends that Seattle area residents work from home if they can, take different modes of transportation around Seattle, or failing that, carpool.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct was built more than half a century ago. While it survived the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, the tunnel is still vulnerable to another seismic event. The new tunnel will replace the viaduct along with an Alaskan Way surface street on the same stretch as the viaduct.

Seattle commuters have four days left to use SR 99 before it closes.

More in News

Residents at SeaTac’s Firs Mobile Home Park received a closure notice for October 31, but most have chosen to stay in their homes. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
South King County coalition targets affordable housing

Rent and housing prices hit south end communities hard; SeaTac, Tukwila, Kent, Burien, Renton and Auburn are working to create organization like Eastside’s ARCH

Public Health is warning those who use illicit drugs to take extra care after reported uptick in overdoses

Seattle & King County is warning people who use illicit drugs to take extra care and not to use drugs alone. The warning comes after seven overdoses were reported in the north area.

Microsoft will invest $500 million toward regional housing

Mayors of nine cities — including Auburn, Kent, Federal Way, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish — have pledged to help

Request for information and public safety announcement|WSP

The Washington State Patrol and King County Sheriff’s Office are requesting assistance from the community in locating an individual responsible for a shooting

Responding to a call for help

United Way of King County’s Family Resource Exchange serves hundreds of homeless at Green River College

Exit poll indicates Washington voters still support climate change action

State environmental organizations’ poll points to continuing support for carbon-reducing measures.

Attendees gather after the Dec. 21, 2018, meeting at Seattle’s Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center.
Washington indigenous communities push for action to address violence against women

A new law seeks to strength data collection on missing and murdered indigenous women.

Police seize more than 120 marijuana plants at a Tukwila home Jan. 10. Photo courtesy Tukwila Police Department Facebook
Police seize more than 120 marijuana plants

Detectives with the Tukwila Anti-Crime Unit with the assistance from SWAT and… Continue reading

Mayor Ekberg announces bid for reelection

He is in his fourth year of being mayor the city of Tukwila.

Most Read