The “Seattle Squeeze”
Seattle Transportation in 2019 and Beyond
In the words of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, “we’re building a better city.” Before these improvements are complete, however, Seattle is scheduled to experience some growing pains. Seattle transportation is expected to experience congestion and delays as several major public and private construction projects impact citywide flow and access.
Read on for more information on upcoming projects. If you are visiting Seattle or planning to visit Seattle during these times and have questions about how this may affect your stay, please contact our Visitor Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (866) 732-2695.
ALASKAN WAY VIADUCT/SR-99 REPLACEMENT TUNNEL PROJECT
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) recently demolished the overhead roadway known as the Alaskan Way Viaduct and re-routed traffic through a new tunnel beneath downtown Seattle.
The new SR-99 Tunnel is open to all traffic! Please note, there are no downtown exits from the new tunnel.
- The south portal entrance is parallel to CenturyLink Field, just west of First Ave S between S King Street and S Royal Brougham Way.
- The north portal entrance is just to the east of Seattle Center, near the intersection of Harrison Street and Sixth Avenue North.
Now through July 2019: Alaskan Way Viaduct/SR-99 demolition
- Staging on surface streets surrounding demolition will create periodic traffic blockages; once complete, surface streets in those blocks re-open.
- Seattle Waterfront businesses will remain open during demotion with variable access points.
SEATTLE TRANSIT TUNNEL
Beginning Saturday, March 23, all buses that use the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will permanently relocate to surface streets. This is a planned changed to convert the transit tunnel to rail only, as well as accommodate Washington State Convention Center additional facility construction.
About 800 more buses will travel daily on downtown streets, and about 37,600 daily riders will be affected, including the 11,000 people who catch their bus downtown during the evening rush hour.
15 bus routes will change what bus stops they serve. To keep buses and riders moving, the City of Seattle is building a new bus lane on 5th and 6th Avenues and Metro will launch all-door boarding on 3rd Avenue, which means you can tap your ORCA card and board any bus door.
To find out if your bus route is affected, click here.
WASHINGTON STATE CONVENTION CENTER ADDITIONAL FACILITY
Construction is underway on a 252,166-square-foot additional convention center facility on the site bordered by Pine and Howell Streets, and Ninth and Boren Avenues. Construction is currently underway and continues for the next three years; the new facility opens in spring 2022.
- Mid-March 2019
Due to convention center construction, buses will be permanently removed from the Metro Transit tunnel beneath and re-routed on downtown Seattle surface streets, impacting routes 41, 74, 101, 150, 255 and Sound Transit Express Route 550.
- Now through April 2020
To accommodate excavation work, Olive Way between Ninth and Boren Avenues will be re-routed to the north. Three lanes of access to Interstate-5 and Capitol Hill will be retained in the rerouted area, including one lane for buses and two lanes for other vehicles. A pedestrian walkway will be available along the new Olive Way route from Terry to Boren that will remain throughout excavation activities. In 2020, Olive Way will return to its original location with a new street, sidewalks, lighting, and landscaping.
Read More about Convention Center construction updates
SEATTLE CENTER ARENA RENOVATION
This $700 million renovation of the arena on the Seattle Center campus in Lower Queen Anne will bring the complex up to NHL and NBA standards. Construction begins in early 2019 with extensive excavation and related truck traffic, and is expected to be complete in 2020.
- During construction, the arena project will restrict one curb lane along First Ave N west of Seattle Center and one curb lane along Thomas Street, between the Center grounds and First Ave N.
- Excavation hauling is expected to run until summer 2019.
- Construction activity will be halted during major events at Seattle Center.
Read more about Seattle Center transportation updates
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