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'We know that there will be problems': Mayor Durkan, city prepare for viaduct closure

'We know that there will be problems': Mayor Durkan, city prepare for viaduct closure (PHOTO: KOMO News)

SEATTLE – On Thursday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and regional transportation officials toured the City’s transportation command center.

“This will be critical in helping us spot and respond to incidents quickly,” said Durkan.

The transportation hub allows city engineers to adjust about 300 traffic signals as it sees fit to decrease congestion.

“We know that there will be problems. You can do all the planning in the world you want, but there still is going to be an accident,” said Durkan.

Along with the mayor, leaders from the Seattle Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation and King County Metro also toured the facility Thursday.

Durkan said the collaboration of these agencies will be crucial in minimizing traffic impacts.

Earlier this month, the mayor appointed General Michael Worden to help manage mobility. He made his first public address Thursday.

“I think I bring a fresh eye. I bring a lot of experience of people under stress who get frustrated and get emotional and how to have everyone focus on a common goal,” said Worden, a retired Air Force general.

Durkan also stressed the leadership of newly-appointed SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe will be crucial in the weeks following the viaduct’s closure.

“He is a highly respected expert in transportation planning, traffic engineering, transit and big capital projects,” said Durkan in introducing Zimbabwe Thursday.

A spokesperson with the Mayor’s Office said Zimbabwe will officially start Jan. 28.

The viaduct closes for good on Friday at 10 p.m.

The 2-mile downtown tunnel is expected to open in early February.

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