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October 24, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Northbound viaduct re-opens at stadiums until 7 p.m.

The northbound part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, from the stadiums to South Lake Union, is back open after the state closed it from 10:30 a.m. until about 3:45 p.m. because large chunks of the ruined structure were falling close to the highway onramp in Sodo.

“The debris is starting to lean a bit toward the travel lanes,” said Travis Phelps, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, earlier Monday.

This DOT YouTube video of the demolition work shows large pieces falling and tumbling toward the foreground.

Halting work until nightfall was one option, he said, but three machines in the area will keep working, to sustain the quick pace of the project. DOT contractors are supposed to demolish the viaduct near the stadiums, and at least the top deck south of the stadiums, by Halloween morning.

Phelps said the destruction is “a smidge” ahead of schedule, but officials can’t give a specific figure yet.

Traffic cameras showed a bottleneck on First Avenue South near the site most of the morning. Phelps said most of those drivers were entering downtown directly — very few of them were taking the northbound up-ramp that DOT scheduled to leave open between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays. Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center, says that historically First has been a challenge for city signal-timing technicians, because Seattle accommodates east-west traffic.

King County Metro Transit called the commute mostly OK, but warned in a tweet: “Don’t expect it every day, or even this afternoon. Keep up with alternative modes.”

As for stadium events, namely the Seahawks home game Oct. 30, the up-ramp to the northbound part of the viaduct will be open only from halftime until after the game, to empty departing traffic.  The first home playoff game for the Sounders FC is Nov. 2, after a detour road is installed to replace the demolished Sodo segment of the highway.

[do action=”viadoom”/]

Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: viadoom

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