The entire Link light-rail corridor will be closed Saturday for systems testing in preparation for the 2016 University Link extension, Sound Transit announced. Trains will be seen making the trip between Westlake Station and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, but they won’t pick up passengers.
Instead, transit staff will help people find buses, including extra shuttle trips. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will be closed, too. Buses will run on streets and transit staff will help riders find their buses, but Sound Transit suggests finding alternate transportation. Sound Transit is changing to a newer control system, which includes signals, radio dispatch, and software that monitors the positions of all trains, said spokesman Bruce Gray.
The Highway 520 floating bridge will close from 11 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, for crews to continue removing the “ramps to nowhere” near Foster Island, which were abandoned when a citizen movement thwarted freeway extensions in 1970. Recently the state held a haiku contest for the forsaken ramps.
And Mercer Street will close between Fourth Avenue North and Dexter Avenue North, from 11 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, to allow finish work and striping on the new, third eastbound lane. That lane opens Monday morning and should offer some relief to drivers caught in the Dexter-Mercer roadwork bottleneck. The Seattle Department of Transportation is building a $95 million “Mercer West” project to create a two-way, six-lane underpass with bike lanes and sidewalks beneath Aurora Avenue North.
Meanwhile, some good news arrived for South Lake Union drivers and Route 70 bus passengers on Fairview Avenue North: Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) announced Friday it will perform excavation work at night, after 7 p.m., to avert severe afternoon traffic jams. SPU needs to replace a 78-foot length of pipe where concrete flowed into the system and hardened in mid-October. Better yet, SPU says it can keep two northbound lanes open in the off-hours, an improvement compared with the recent one-lane pinch point at Thomas Street.
The five-week repair is expected to start Monday night.
Related story: Fairview Avenue dig will disrupt traffic starting Monday