• Port of Seattle has plan to help ease congestion after viaduct closure

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff


    SEATTLE - As of Wednesday, there are just two days left before the permanent closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct followed by three weeks before the new SR 99 Tunnel will open.

    >>Find everything you need to know about the closure, new tunnel here

    Commuters can expect to see some already congested routes, such as Alaskan Way South near Terminal 46, experience even more gridlock.

    But the Port of Seattle has been working on a specific plan for that area because the terminal, which is the one closest to the viaduct, sees more than 1,000 trucks come in and out of the main gate each day.

    The gate normally opens up around 8 a.m., but after the closure, the Port of Seattle will open the gate at 5 a.m. to give truck drivers the option to get there earlier and avoid increased congestion on the roads around the terminal.

    Those roads are expected to fill quickly during rush hour, when some 90,000 drivers who use the viaduct will be forced off after Friday night.

    "Those few hours will allow the terminal to get a lot of the trucks off the road and able to start queuing before the terminal opens. That will be a big help for both truckers and traffic as this closure begins,” said Peter McGraw with the Port of Seattle.

    But Port officials, like those at the Washington State Department of Transportation, are asking other commuters to chip in as well.

    "We are all saying the same thing. If you are driving a single occupancy car, look at public transportation options. People hauling crates don't have that option. The more they can look at other transportation options, the better off we will be,” said McGraw.

    Some of the advice port officials say both truckers and drivers can utilize for the next three weeks is to adjust travel times, use alternate routes and stay updated with current traffic information.


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