Road closures plus big events give Seattle a traffic migraine

SEATTLE - Much of Seattle was one big traffic jam Saturday as thousands of people headed into the city for the Northwest Women's Show, Emerald City Comicon, the Sounders game and other big events.

And the same thing could happen again Sunday as streets are shut down for thousands of runners taking part in the Hot Chocolate Race.

Transportation officials have been urging people to leave early if they plan on reaching their destination on time.

People are trying to be prepared - some even using public transportation to get to events in town - but it hasn't been the easiest commute for everyone.

Some 20,000 people were expected at the Northwest Women's Show this weekend at CenturyLink Field.

"We came early because of that," said Delsie Flanagan of Bellevue.

Coming in early, though, wasn't a guarantee for an easy commute - for most of Saturday, all lanes on the Alaskan Way Viaduct were closed for inspection.

"I had to go pick up some of my stuff down in Green Lake and then came back up this way and thought, 'I"ll just hit Aurora.' Well then, the viaduct was closed so we went all the way around," said vendor Tobi Kirsch.

"I had to call the customers and let them know I'm going to be 45 minutes late just by doing the ride-around," said Scott Douglas.

Along Interstate 5 in the University District on Saturday morning, crews continued pavement repairs. Work starts again Saturday night beginning at 10 p.m. - three of four lanes will be closed.

"No point getting mad about it - there's nothing you can do about it. You just have to work your way around," said motorist Thomas Greaves.

Some are working their way around the West Seattle Bridge - the ramp to southbound I-5 is closed all weekend. After the doors closed Saturday night at the NW Women's Show, thousands more arrived for the Sounders home opener against Montreal.

"Just thousands and thousands of people crowding around trying to get wherever they are to wherever they want to be," said Sounders fan Sean Kelly. "It's going to be a mess."

On Sunday morning more traffic is expected around downtown and the Seattle Center as thousands of runners participate in the Hot Chocolate Race.