[Updated 10 a.m. Thursday by Mike Lindblom]
The Washington State Department of Transportation will open a new South Atlantic Street overpass Monday that will allow trucks to bypass busy railroad tracks so that freight can move faster.
To complete the street connections, the off-ramp from southbound Highway 99 to Atlantic will be closed this weekend, from 4 a.m. Saturday, until 5 a.m. Monday.
The $29 million overpass, part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, will enable traffic to move above train tracks, when BNSF occupies the surface. BNSF operates a dead-end “tail track” here so that strings of rail cars can be attached to other railcars in the nearby Seattle International Gateway yard, forming trains of a mile or longer.
The overpass will save truckers as much as 20 minutes of travel time between the port and Interstate 5 or I-90, Matt Preedy, deputy administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, said in a news release.
“If freight can’t move, nobody moves,” Preedy said.
The overpass is commonly nicknamed “little h” because of its shape. The structure includes sidewalks, and eventually the Sodo bicycle trail will pass beneath. Some street lanes near Terminal 46 (shown in green on this DOT map) will be designated for trucks only.
The north leg of the overpass will connect to the future waterfront Alaskan Way surface street, after construction is finished on the Highway 99 tunnel in 2016.