Seattle area braces for three-week SR 99 closure

Expect more congestion, longer commutes.

File photo

File photo

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

In this file photo, marchers make their way from Trinity Episcopal Church in Everett on Feb. 26, 2017. Muslim refugees’ admissions into the U.S. have declined by 85 percent since the Trump administration came into power in 2017, according to the International Rescue Committee. Sound Publishing file photo
Report: Fewer refugees settling in U.S. and Washington state

Admissions are on pace to only reach around one-fifth of their limit in 2019.

PSE workers rebuild circuit 27 in North Kenmore. Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Energy.
Kenmore council approves new agreement with PSE; power may finally be reliable again

A new agreement with PSE will help avoid future power outages for Kenmore businesses and residents.

Summer activities to enjoy on Kenmore’s 21st birthday

Two decades ago, the city was unrecognizable.

A high tide at Raymond’s Willapa Landing Park in Grays Harbor County, Washington. Sound Publishing file photo
On the West Coast, Washington is most prone to sea level rise damage

Report by the Center for Climate Integrity shows multibillion-dollar cost of battling back the sea.

Edmonds man recently arrested for 1972 murder out on bail

Terrence Miller, 77, posted a bond of $750,000. He’s accused of killing 20-year-old Jody Loomis.

What’s next for Washington’s 2045 green energy goal?

The Legislature set the goal, but how does the state actually get there?

Family of Edmonds man shot by deputy sues sheriff’s office

They argue that deadly force should not have been used against Nickolas Peters, 24, last October.

Tasting room proposal could redefine alcohol production in King County

Pilot program would benefit wineries, breweries and distilleries. Several farmers are concerned.

Most Read