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We began this week heralding the end of the Mercer Mess. The week is ending with the dubbing of two new alliterative congestion spots: the Dexter Disaster and the Westlake Wrangle. (97.3 KIRO FM/Chris Sullivan)

Mercer Mess fix spawns Dexter Disaster, Westlake Wrangle

We began this week heralding the end of the Mercer Mess. How's that working for you right now? The Mess is still there, and it's spilling onto the side streets. The week is ending with the naming of two new alliterative congestion spots: the Dexter Disaster and the Westlake Wrangle.

While it appears that drivers are starting to get a handle on getting onto Mercer from I-5, they are still having a heck of a time navigating just about every other aspect of getting through South Lake Union.

Mercer backs up terribly heading toward I-5 in the afternoon, creating a spill-over on the north-south side streets that have to cross it.

It's become so bad drivers are now calling it the Dexter Disaster and the Westlake Wrangle. Many are sitting through multiple lights without moving an inch.

The major problem is that people on Mercer are blocking the intersections at the cross streets. There are times when the intersections are like a jumble of cars with front ends nearly touching side panels and no one is moving. Fingers are flying and horns are honking. It's so bad the city is about to call on the police to fix it.

Rick Sheridan, with the Seattle Department of Transportation, told KING 5, "blocking the intersection is clearly one of the issues." He said a deterrent might be necessary. "We're going to have SPD to do some additional enforcement there and essentially, potentially write tickets for people who block that intersection."

Compounding the problem is that several north-south streets are still blocked for construction, and they will be for another four to six months. That's putting extra pressure on Dexter and Westlake too.

Sheridan said the department is also considering going window to window for the drivers stuck in this mess and handing out small traffic maps to help them navigate the entire area.

"One of the things we're considering is whether we need to essentially print up leaflets that have a map, the map that we have on our website," he said.

The city is also working on tweaking the timing of the lights so more people can get through.

This has the potential to be a real disaster for the next three days with thousands of people expected to be using Mercer Street during Bumbershoot being held at the Seattle Center.


Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
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