SR-99 Downtown access just got easier: New Dearborn offramp has opened

    Traffic begins using the new northbound SR-99 offramp to Dearborn Street (WSDOT Image)

    SEATTLE -- The next puzzle piece in the opening of the new SR-99 Downtown tunnel is now in place as WSDOT officials opened the new Dearborn offramp from SR-99 North Tuesday morning.

    The new off-ramp, which is near the sports stadiums, now allows drivers coming into Seattle from the south to exit before the tunnel.

    WSDOT Image

    "This new exit ramp leads to a new intersection at South Dearborn Street where drivers can choose to head straight to Alaskan Way and the waterfront, or turn right to access First Avenue and downtown or SODO," WSDOT officials said.

    DOT officials said not only is the route new, but so is the technology that went into making the offramps earthquake resistant.

    "This ramp is the first in the world built with flexible metals and bendable concrete designed to sway with a strong earthquake and return to its original shape," WSDOT officials said. "Its innovative design has won regional and national recognition."

    Meanwhile, as the new SR-99 now moves into its final configuration, the old SR-99 continues to come down. Crews will continue demolition work on the Alaskan Way Viaduct and hope to have that completed by the summer.

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