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October 24, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Weekend traffic: football, futbol, freeways and Mercer madness

Crosstown traffic will be slow this weekend as travelers navigate an overnight closure on Interstate 5 in Tukwila, crowded streets surrounding a Sounders FC match and a Husky football game on Saturday, some I-405 restriping and more construction on Mercer Street.

The weather could also play a role in snarled traffic. The National Weather Service says to expect windy, wet weather in the Northwest this weekend. Forecasters say a series of different weather systems hitting the area will result in “unsettled weather into the next week.”  On the other hand, heavy rain might cancel the Mercer Street and I-405 lane closures.  The state’s update on weekend construction closures is linked here.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Mercer Street lane closures are scheduled from 8 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, between Dexter Avenue North and Fifth Avenue North.  Also, part of Fifth will be reduced to one lane from Republican to Roy streets for paving, and Taylor Avenue North will be southbound only near Mercer Street.  Wet weather could force the work to be rescheduled.  The job is part of ongoing work to build a new Aurora Avenue North overpass above Mercer Street.  The Seattle Department of Transportation (DOT) is converting Mercer into a two-way boulevard to include trees, wide sidewalks and bike lanes. The project is unlikely to improve car traffic, but it will serve a booming population of apartment residents, as well as people who walk from transit stops to South Lake Union workplaces.

    Seattle DOT image: the future reward for enduring construction delays at Mercer under Aurora. (Congestion not depicted.)

    Seattle DOT image: Sidewalks, trees and two-way travel are the eventual reward for enduring construction delays at Mercer under Aurora. (Congestion not depicted.)

  • An overnight closure of I-5 between Highway 599 and the Boeing Access Road exit is planned Friday night so Seattle City Light crews can replace a cable. Lanes will begin closing at 9 p.m. until the entire freeway is shut down at 11:59 p.m., until 6 a.m Saturday. Traffic will be detoured from I-5, as well as from nearby Highway 900 (Martin Luther King Way Jr. Way South), between South Seattle and Skyway.
  • The Sounders FC are playing the LA Galaxy at home at noon Saturday.
  • The Huskies play Arizona State at 7:45 p.m. Saturday.
  • Northbound I-405 will lose up to four lanes through the Kirkland and Totem Lake areas, for restriping work. The first lane closes at 7 p.m. Saturday, then more lanes will close. Then on Sunday morning, all lanes will be open by noon.
  • One lane of the westbound Highway 520 bridge will close, from mid-Lake Washington to the Seattle shore, from 9 p.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday, for a delivery of construction supplies.
  • The northbound right lane of I-5 at the Ebey Slough Bridge in North Everett will close Sunday from 7:30 until 10:30 a.m., for bridge inspection.
  • In downtown Edmonds, the right eastbound lane of Highway 104 will close at Pine Street from 11:59 p.m. Sunday until 8 a.m. Monday, for curb and sidewalk improvements.

The $99 million Mercer West rebuild in particular has caused congestion because there are only two lanes each direction under Aurora. The city’s Aurora overpass should be done late this year, but further work below on Mercer will go until fall 2015, said Rick Sheridan, spokesman for the Seattle DOT.  But the third eastbound lane of Mercer, as well as a left turn lane from westbound Mercer to Ninth Avenue North, should be open by late November, he said.

That won’t bring relief to Aurora, which will remain two lanes each way — the southbound bus lane ends near Valley Street, where buses and right-turning vehicles must merge into general lanes. Sheridan said Aurora won’t return to full capacity until after the Highway 99 tunnel is done because that project needs room to finish the north Highway 99 tunnel portal. The tunnel is delayed a year and could perhaps open by the start of 2017. So that’s one more thing to blame on stalled tunnel-boring machine Bertha.









Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: Mercer West project


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