File photo

File photo

Seattle area braces for three-week SR 99 closure

Expect more congestion, longer commutes

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.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

A train route that would shuttle people between Eastern and Western Washington could tie in with the proposed ultra-high-speed rail between B.C. and Portland. Photo courtesy RobertStafford/Pixabay.com
State receives King County to Spokane rail study

It would take about eight and a half hours to reach the Inland Empire from Puget Sound.

Down the block at Williams Avenue South, trees were also removed, Monday, June 15. Photo by Haley Ausbun.
Tree in front of Common Ground Cupcakes removed

The city was not able to preserve the 48-year-old tree during utility upgrades. Staff also say the tree was nearing the end of its healthy lifespan.

The Red Lion Inn at 1 South Grady Way in Renton is being used as temporary site to relocate individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Renton finds code violation, issues Aug. 9 removal of Red Lion Hotel temporary shelter

County officials believe emergency health order will supersede city’s move.

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Gov. Jay Inslee issued new guidance allowing the resumption of self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, drink stations and other types of communal food sources in Phase 2. File photo
Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in King County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Brian Tilley (left) and Katie Dearman work the wash station Friday at Kate’s Greek American Deli in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Governor’s no-mask, no-service order begins across Washington

“Just do not ring up the sale,” Gov. Jay Inslee said about customers who do not don the proper masks.

King County homeless count: 11,751 people, up 5 percent from 2019

One night a year, volunteers spread out across Seattle and King County… Continue reading

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

Most Read