Washington State DOT warns drivers to expect the ‘worst closure in state history’

A WSDOT employee said the closure will be "dramatic" and advised travelers to "take vacation" if possible.

Three weeks of historically awful traffic kick off in Seattle this weekend

Washington State transportation officials are warning drivers to do everything that they can to avoid what is expected to be one of the most disruptive road closures in state history.

This weekend, SR 99 over the Alaskan Way Viaduct in downtown Seattle will shut down, triggering a three week period of traffic nightmares that is being dubbed the “Seattle Squeeze.”

The road closure is set to begin at 10 p.m. on Friday, January 11. About three weeks later, a new four lane tunnel will reopen to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Since the Alaskan Way Viaduct carries 90,000 vehicles every day, this road closure is expected to cause serious traffic headaches for the three weeks until the new tunnel opens.

The “Seattle Squeeze” is the longest major road closure in Puget Sound history. “It is dramatic. Everyone traveling in the region will be impacted,” Heather Marx of the Seattle Department of Transportation (WSDOT) told USA Today. The road closure is expected to be so bad that transportation officials are encouraging Seattle residents to work from home, leave for work much earlier than usual, or to take vacation during the road closure.

The extra traffic is will likely be pushed onto I-5 and I-405, according to traffic experts.

WSDOT has released a series of maps to help truckers understand how freight routes will be impacted during the road closure. You can click here to view the maps.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct was built in 1953 and was weakened by a 2001 earthquake. The structure will be dismantled over the next several months.

You can access real time travel time information for the Seattle area by clicking here.

WSDOT gives drivers the information that that they need to know to survive the SR 99 road closure in the video below.

What will happen during the 3-week closure of SR 99?

As of Nov. 16, we are eight weeks away from the 3-week closure of SR 99 in downtown Seattle needed to open the new tunnel. What work will happen during those three weeks? This video explains.

Posted by WSDOT on Friday, November 16, 2018

 

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