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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

May 7, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Traffic trouble: Aurora/99 and Mercer closures May 18-19

Seattle’s “Mercer West” street project kicks into high gear 10 days from now, when Aurora Avenue North and eastbound Mercer Street will temporarily close to traffic.

The shutdown will let construction workers move equipment into place, and change the lane positions for a two-year project, which includes cutting apart and rebuilding the bridge over the Mercer underpass.

From 11 p.m. on Friday, May 17 until 5 a.m. on Monday, May 20:

  • Highway 99 (Aurora) will close from Valley Street to the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel. Southbound through traffic will be detoured to I-5 at North 85th Street, though local drivers will be able to continue on Aurora  toward Lake Union.
  • Mercer Street will close from Fifth Avenue North to Dexter Avenue North. A detour near Seattle Center will take traffic from Fifth to Denny Way, then to Mercer via northbound Dexter.
  • Sidewalks in the same area as the road closures will be closed.

Afterward, Mercer Street will have two eastbound lanes instead of the usual four, through the work zone — adding 5 to 10 minutes to driving time, city staff said Tuesday.  A map of the changes can be found by clicking here.

The $95 million project will convert today’s eastbound-only Mercer to two-way traffic below Aurora, making it simpler for drivers to go from I-5 to Seattle Center or Interbay. Wide sidewalks and a bike lane will be constructed on Mercer, as well as three vehicle lanes each direction.  The ability to go west on Mercer will also help drivers leaving the new Highway 99 tunnel, which will include an exit onto west Mercer, said Eric Tweit, a project manager for Seattle Department of Transportation. It’s expected to open in 2016.

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