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October 25, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Afternoon commute sluggish on Viadoom day two

Traffic on the second weekday afternoon of Viadoom is looking slower than Monday’s in Seattle.

Stop-and-go conditions begin around Northgate entering the city, and already stretch to Beacon Hill for cars from the south. Washington State Department of Transportation reported a crash at 3:55 p.m. northbound on I-5, near the West Seattle Bridge/Tully’s ramps. Earlier this afternoon, cars were so bottlenecked reaching Convention Place southbound that by the time they passed downtown, a crash south of downtown Seattle on I-5 was barely noticeable, said Jim Bak of INRIX.

Sodo and the high West Seattle Bridge corridors were both crowded, and city traffic cameras show a severe backup heading toward downtown from the Delridge area.

BNSF Railway is trying to finish switching operations in Sodo before the evening peak, after freight trains slowed bus and car travel by up to half and hour on Monday. But spokesman Gus Melonas said that because of demolition work on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the BNSF trains can’t make their usual switching north of the Seattle International Gateway (SIG) yard — so there is more need to attach railcars south of the SIG yard, blocking the South Hanford Street detour route that reaches the lower West Seattle swing bridge. “We are making every attempt to get switching done before the afternoon rush,” Melonas said.

Seattle DOT was unable to fast-track construction of its First Avenue South onramp from Sodo to the high bridge, in time to rise above railroad and maritime traffic that blocks the low route.

Meanwhile, demolition of the old structure continues to “make great strides,” state DOT announced, to be on or ahead of schedule to reopen Highway 99 early Oct. 31.

More Seattle Times coverage is here, or follow the hashtag #viadoom on twitter.

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Comments | More in General news, Traffic & Transit | Topics: Traffic, viadoom, viaduct

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