SEATTLE - Seattle commuters who drove into work Monday morning expecting to find a faster, better-flowing Mercer Street were disappointed.
Long backups persisted through the morning commute as the new two-way configuration made its debut.
Officials had warned that traffic congestions on the new stretch of roadway likely wouldn't be any better than it was before construction began, but that didn't appear to make a difference.
"Congestion may not be better on Monday morning in terms of Mercer traffic," project manager Angela Brady said Friday.
She added that the project "is not only for vehicular traffic. We’ve made a ton of improvements out here for pedestrians and bicycles, so we’re really focused on sort of a multi-modal approach with the overall project."
Seattle Department of Transportation spokesman Rick Sheridan told The Seattle Times many drivers were confused by the fact that Mercer is now a two-way street for the first time since 1968.
"We're seeing some driver confusion, especially in the westbound direction," Sheridan said. "They are not understanding that Mercer is two-way."
He added, however, that there weren't any collisions.
The current setup is temporary and will exist through Stage 3 of the construction process, which is scheduled to last into spring 2013.