Preliminary work for S.R. 99 closure to start earlier than planned


    SR99 tunnel entrance (File photo)<p>{/p}

    SEATTLE - Some of the preliminary work needed to prepare for the upcoming three-week closure of Highway 99 through downtown Seattle will begin in two weeks - earlier than originally planned, state transportation officials said Thursday.

    At the same time, the state Department of Transportation announced drop-in sessions will be held for neighbors of the construction project will be held next week and the week after.

    The three-week closure of the highway itself will begin Jan. 11, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Battery Street Tunnel are shut down, and end the week of Feb. 3-9, when the new tunnel opens. During the closure, crews will realign the highway access to and from the new tunnel. It will be the longest major highway closure the Puget Sound region has ever seen.

    The preliminary work will begin in about two weeks, as follows:

    • Effective Dec. 14: Crews will reduce the length of the northbound SR 99 transit lane in SODO by approximately 1,400 feet. This will enable the contractor to repair a dip in the road at that location that would otherwise need to be repaired during the mainline closure.
    • Effective Dec. 14: Crews will shorten the southbound right-turn lane to Harrison Street and narrow travel lanes on SR 99 near the SR 99 tunnel’s north portal. This will allow safer and better access to work areas and reduce the schedule risks associated with removing a temporary wall that supports the existing highway.
    • Effective Jan. 4: The northbound on-ramp near the stadiums, which connects approximately 12,500 vehicles each day from South Royal Brougham Way to northbound SR 99, is now scheduled to close one week earlier than the previously announced date. This additional week will allow the contractor more time to perform critical work (including unburying tunnel on- and off-ramps) that has the potential for some unanticipated challenges, giving crews additional flexibility during the mainline closure. The southbound SR 99 off-ramp to South Atlantic Street near the stadiums will also close as scheduled at this time.

    Transportation officials say now is the time for residents to start planning how they will get around during the closure, dubbed "Realign99."

    After the closure, crews will begin removing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, filling the Battery Street Tunnel, and rebuilding Aurora Avenue North between Denny Way and Harrison Street.

    Neighborhood drop-in sessions will start next week for neighbors interested in learning what to expect when that phase of construction starts, as follows:

    • On Dec. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m., Waterfront Space, 1400 Western Ave, Seattle
    • Dec. 5, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Waterfront Space, 1400 Western Ave, Seattle
    • Dec. 10, 5 to 8 p.m., Seattle Center, Armory Loft Room 2, 305 Harrison St, Seattle

    More information about the Highway 99 closure and realignment can be found at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct/.

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