Drivers brace for new 'Mercer Mess' near Seattle Centeron May 16, 2013 @ 6:25 pm (Updated: 5:21 am - 5/20/13 )
Crews are working to remove sections of the Aurora Avenue bridge structure, which goes over Mercer Street.
Erik Twight, the Project Manager for Mercer Project, tells KIRO Radio's Ross and Burbank Show that while the models show only a few minutes delay, he thinks it will be more.
"The modeling showed if people chose different routes and distributed across the other options that we would likely see only a few minutes of an increase, but definitely on day one plan on taking more time than that, you're going to have five to ten minute delays."
Starting Friday at 11 p.m., Aurora Avenue and Mercer Street will be completely closed to traffic in the area. It will reopen at 5 a.m. Monday.
Southbound through traffic will be detoured from Aurora to I-5 at North 85th Street. Local drivers can continue on Aurora down to the Dexter Avenue North exit.
Traffic from South Seattle will be detoured off Highway 99 at East Marginal Way South near South Spokane Street.
Starting next Monday, the four existing eastbound lanes of Mercer between Fourth Avenue North and Ninth Avenue North will be cut down to two lanes, with big backups expected.
The exit from northbound Aurora/Highway 99 to eastbound Mercer Street will also close.
Twight says they do have maps of alternate routes available online, but there will be limited signage.
"We will have some signs out there, but we don't want to direct people to just one route and focus them on one route. So we want them to distribute across that, and if we put too many signs out there, you get everybody on one street and cause problems on that street as well."
The work will take at least two-years. SDOT says when the $95 million project is completed, drivers will be able to go west in a straight shot from Seattle Center to I-5. It features a new, two-way Mercer underpass beneath Aurora, and a six-lane boulevard with sidewalks and a separate bike lane.
The following year, a new offramp from the future Highway 99 tunnel under Seattle will connect with the new Mercer Street, just west of Aurora Avenue.
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