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Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

October 31, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Monday's post-Viadoom drive: business as usual

Despite government warnings about driver confusion, the only haunting in Monday’s post-Viadoom commute came from the mangled skeleton of the demolished elevated highway.

A drive at 8:25 a.m. from West Seattle to South Lake Union took about 35 minutes, similar to the pre-Viadoom pace.  “Overall, I think it was kind of back to business as usual,” said spokesman Travis Phelps. There were no stalls, no accidents. It seems that people took their time as they sampled the new curves and lanes, he said.

A new bottleneck has been added near the stadiums, where a busy new merge lane takes traffic from the stadiums onto the new four-lane, northbound highway detour.

But despite that pinch point,  there was less of a clog than usual Monday on the crest of the West Seattle Bridge — where cars used to block the bus lane as they tried to enter the exit-only lane to Highway 99.  The lineups often went back to Delridge Way Southwest, blocking those drivers from the bridge. That clog could return, though, because Highway 99 still shrinks from three-to-two lanes northbound near Spokane Street, where traffic converges from the airport-area suburbs.

A 2,800-foot segment of the old Alaskan Way Viaduct was demolished from Oct. 21-29, to make room for new highway decks. A stadium interchange and deep-bore tunnel are to be finished by 2016. Until then, north- and southbound traffic will share what will become the permanent, three-lane southbound Sodo overpass. The speed limit is 40 mph, including a 25 mph advisory speed on a curve near the stadiums. An animation is here.

Comments | More in General news, Traffic & Transit | Topics: commute, Traffic, tunnel

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