WSDOT warns viaduct closure will cause more challenging commutes Monday

May 1, 2016, 1:00 PM | Updated: 3:14 pm
alaskan way viaduct...

It may have been bad initially, but there’s a strong likelihood that Puget Sound drivers have yet to fully realize the frustration that can be caused by the Seattle viaduct closure.

KIRO Radio traffic reporter Chris Sullivan said Friday, the first day of the closure, wasn’t as bad as some thought. Sure, surface streets were jammed and traffic on I-5 had some backups, but the morning commute went relatively smoothly.

The Washington State Department of Transportation says drivers should expect a more challenging commute Monday since the start of the work week is traditionally heavier traffic than Fridays. To cope, WSDOT wrote on its daily update page that changes will be made.

The Seattle Traffic Operations Center examined Friday’s commute and is adjusting by extending parking restrictions on Fourth Avenue South from peak periods only to all-day restrictions to help transit and traffic flow. In addition, the Seattle Department of Transportation added protected left turn signals at First Avenue South and South Hanford Street as well as First Avenue South and South Holgate Street to improve traffic flow.

Updates on the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure

The hardest-hit road Friday was obviously I-5. The northbound commute leaped to as much as 20 minutes above normal by the 7 a.m. hour. Sea-Tac to Seattle was nearly a 50-minute drive. The drive into Seattle peaked with a six-mile backup between 7-10 a.m., according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Southbound was poor, but Sullivan says that wasn’t all due to the viaduct closure; early-morning crashes and rain played a big factor in commute times. Everett to Seattle was about 50 minutes before 7 a.m.

WSDOT reported “heavier than normal” traffic for a Friday. First Avenue South and Fourth Avenue South experience heavy traffic. Drivers and bus riders on Fourth Avenue between South Spokane and South Washington streets experienced delays.

“It looked more like a Monday morning commute,” WSDOT wrote.

Meanwhile, WSDOT said Bertha the tunneling machine is picking up the pace after its “slow and deliberate” departure from the planned maintenance stop near Yesler Way. As of 2 p.m. Sunday, Bertha, had mined 39 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the viaduct reopens to traffic. WSDOT

WSDOT warned drivers of congestion for Mariners games at Safeco Field on Sunday and Sound Transit’s Sounder train was used to alleviate traffic ahead of the game.

Sullivan was surprised at how few people were using typical roadways on Friday, a fact he made clear on Twitter.

Sullivan also said there’s a good chance people took the day off of work Friday. However, he expects more people on the road this week. That means there’s a good chance the viaduct-related traffic might better live up to a phrase coined by a KIRO Radio listener …

Local News

Starbucks union...
Nick Bowman

From Seattle to Atlanta: Starbucks union push builds steam across nation

A push among Starbucks workers to unionize has continued to grow across the United States, now spanning 30 cities and even more stores.
12 hours ago
N95 masks...
MyNorthwest Staff

Washington residents can soon pick up free N95 masks

Washington state residents won't have to wait too much longer to pick up free N95 masks. They will be available at some local pharmacies.
12 hours ago
Dalton Day

Cool ocean waters, abundant nutrients provide rosy outlook for Washington salmon

Scientific markers used to predict the health of marine species such as juvenile salmon were positive in 2021, the second most favorable since 1998.
12 hours ago
Screengrab from witness video of a stolen car crashing into police cars that had boxed the thief in...
Heather Bosch

Dramatic rise in car thefts blamed on new Washington state law

Car thefts in Washington have reportedly increased by 50% since a new state law limiting police pursuits took effect at the end of July.
12 hours ago
Echo Glen...
Dalton Day

Report says Echo Glen center, site of recent escape, is understaffed, underfunded

A 2018 report indicates that employees of Echo Glen insist the detention facility is short staffed, and that its counselors are not sufficiently trained.
2 days ago
Washington voting...
Nick Bowman

Washington weighs significant changes to how (and when) it votes in 2022

A trio of proposals related to how Washington conducts its elections could bring dramatic voting changes to the state by the end of the legislative session.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
WSDOT warns viaduct closure will cause more challenging commutes Monday