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What to expect when Seattle closes its viaduct for 2 weeks

They don’t know when, but they know where and that it is definitely coming — Seattle will close the raised portion of the Alaskan Way Viaduct for two weeks as Bertha bores underneath it.

Bertha continues to go through planned maintenance in preparation for the next leg of its trip. When it is ready, it will dig a tunnel under the viaduct, which means no cars will be allowed on the raised road.

“We are committed to giving two-weeks notice, but we don’t have a hard date (for the closure),” said David Sowers, deputy program administrator with WSDOT. “We have to work with our partners and with the Mariners for when that date will be.”

The Seattle City Council was briefed Monday morning by representatives from the Washington State Department of Transportation, Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro in preparation for closure of the viaduct.

“We are going to close SR 99 between Battery Street and South Spokane Street for approximately two weeks while the machine passes underneath the foundations that support the viaduct,” Sowers said. “That distance we have to cross, under the viaduct, is about 300 feet.”

In response to the expected but unscheduled closure, Seattle can count on a few things to happen:

• Police will direct traffic at 11 downtown intersections in the AM peak drive times
• Police will direct traffic at 12 intersections during the PM peak drive times
• Parking on some downtown streets will be reduced or eliminated to increase carrying capacity
• Three incident response teams will be staffed from 4 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
• Digital traffic signs will be at 14 locations, and seven portable signs will also be placed to direct traffic
• A new signal timing plan will be put into place

One example of downtown parking changes will be on 4th Avenue South where parking will be eliminated during the viaduct closure. This will be a main route for buses exiting the viaduct before that portion is closed.

SDOT Director Scott Kubly also said that they are working with — meaning “encouraging” — Uber and Lyft ride-share companies to up their game for carpooling options around the closure.

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