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August 14, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Two-way travel on new Mercer Street begins Aug. 27

The new Mercer Street will open for two-way traffic on Monday, Aug. 27,  ending a half-century of eastbound only travel.

There will be three lanes in each direction. Cars can head directly west from I-5 toward Seattle Center, without a winding right and left turn to Valley Street. Also, the new street will add left-turn only lanes from new Mercer to the Fremont neighborhood via Westlake Avenue North, and to the Eastlake neighborhood via Fairview Avenue North.  The transition begins at 5 a.m., after a weekend construction closure.

But as some lanes open, others close — Fairview Avenue North will shrink to just one northbound lane for up to six months, during the next phase of construction, just south of Mercer.  The restrictions will prevent southbound turns from the I-5 offramp toward downtown, and it will make queuing tougher for drivers using Fairview to reach I-5 in the evening. On the other hand, Ninth, Terry, and Boren avenues north will reopen so traffic can turn right from those streets onto Mercer, and continue east to I-5.  Project manager Angela Brady  said it may be possible to open another lane of Fairview after two or three months, but a decision can’t be made until then.

The $164 million project includes new sidewalks, up to 20 feet wide, to help pedestrians and bicyclists reach Amazon and other fast-growing businesses. For the next few months, some crosswalks will be closed so right-turning cars can reach Mercer. Valley Street will be rebuilt next year as a two-lane route plus bike lanes, and the city will soon begin a $98 million rebuild on the western segment of Mercer, featuring  a two-way underpass below Aurora Avenue North.

Below is a detour map for the next several weeks. The project homepage is here.

 

 

 

Comments | Topics: Mercer Street, South Lake Union, Traffic

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