South-end buses entering Seattle ought to move a little faster Monday morning, when the state Department of Transportation opens its new northbound blacktop and bridge at the Highway 99 project in Sodo.
The bus lane will stretch an additional 3,180 feet north, saving a minute or two per trip.
This changeover requires a northbound closure from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, causing delays and detours for Huskies and Seahawks football fans. (More traffic info here.)
Here’s a WashDOT picture of the site, under construction by prime contractor Skanska USA:
You can see that the northern landing, including Geofoam foundations and fill, isn’t finished yet. That job will be done in 2014 by another contractor, Atkinson Construction, while erecting a new stadium area interchange and port-truck overpass. For now, crews need the land for equipment staging, to launch a giant tunnel-boring machine next year.
Until then, traffic diversions will occur mid-bridge — where the bus lane merges into the two car lanes, and they all slant over to join the winding detour roadway.
WashDOT took the occasion to boast that its Sodo area work is several months ahead of schedule. For commuters, a more immediate bottom line is a faster busway, just in time for King County Metro Transit to convert West Seattle’s Route 54 to the RapidRide C Line on Sept. 29. Riders should also benefit on busy Route 120 serving Delridge, Westwood and White Center.