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Countdown is on for Viaduct closure

Countdown is on for Viaduct closure (PHOTO: KOMO News)

The countdown is on for the January closer of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Tuesday marks four weeks until the structure permanently closes.

The final public meeting about tearing down the Viaduct happened Monday at the Armory at Seattle Center where questions about traffic and construction were answered.

The state and city wants to make sure commuter and prepared and ready for what will be the longest highway closure in Puget Sound history.

Traffic throughout Snohomish, Pierce and King Counties will experience what is projected to be the worst congestion our region has ever faced.

“We are urging drivers to take up less space on the road by choosing smart commute choices like active commute such as biking or walking,” said Madeline Feig who is with Commute Seattle. “You can use transit and you can use the water taxi.”

The key, according to experts, is to do a practice run on your alternative mode of transportation before the Jan. 11 closure.

“There’s a lot more people in Seattle right now, there’s a lot more vehicles moving through the city which is wonderful, but it’s going to be tight and no one is really sure how to quantify it at this point,” said Feig.

Commute Seattle says reducing peak hour trips will help the region’s traffic troubles during the closure.

“With two little kids and a nanny at home it makes it not ideal to work at home,” Kimberly Alzinger who commutes downtown from Shoreline with her husband daily.

While Alzinger needs to commute during regular hours, Commute Seattle says some businesses are allowing employees to work flexible hours.

But for some companies – it’s just not possible.

“Oh definitely - it will impact business if people aren’t on time,” Marc Hurd who is a manager at a downtown company.

Hurd says he’s ready for his staff to be late during all three weeks of the closure.

Flexibility and patience is the only way everyone will get through what will be a difficult time on local roads.

“I think making sure we know we are going to make it,” said Feig. “It’s not ‘Viadoom.’ It’s just one building block on the way to the end.

King County Metro will be adding more bus routes. And the West Seattle Water Taxi will be offering more trips across Elliott Bay.

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