Bus routes shift with 'Seattle Squeeze,' Viaduct demolition

SEATTLE — Viaduct demolition work and traffic congestion is bringing big changes to Downtown Seattle bus routes starting Monday morning.

Southbound SR 99 Metro bus service in the Pioneer Square area will be rerouted off of First Avenue South. A dozen routes are now being moved to Second and Fourth avenues.

Southbound routes 21 Express, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125 and the RapidRide C Line, heading toward West Seattle, Shorewood and Burien, that would normally enter SR 99 at South Dearborn Street, will follow a different route and will not serve the southbound bus stop on First Avenue South between South King Street and Railroad Avenue South. Find maps and information from Metro here.

For SR 99 routes to West Seattle and Shorewood, Burien and Highline, there will be no stops for these routes between the stop on the 2nd Ave. Ext S. at S. Washington St. until their next scheduled West Seattle, East Marginal Way or Burien-area stops.

The changes come after the routes that used to run southbound along the Viaduct - or State Route 99 -- were moved to First Avenue.

But King County Metro says after three days of trial and talking with customers, they've struggled to keep traffic flowing during the so-called "Seattle Squeeze" since the Viaduct is being torn down. Ferry traffic and increased traffic around the stadiums were also a factor in the changes.

Passengers told KIRO 7 buses would constantly stop and go and take up to a half hour to go a couple blocks.

The changes are not permanent. Buses will shift to Alaskan Way once the teardown is finished at the end of the year.

Northbound service is not affected long-term, but there will be a significant traffic disruption when work to tear down the South Dearborn Street section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct begins.

Dearborn will close for ten days starting Thursday so crews can remove the viaduct segment that spans the road near First Avenue South. Crews will remove the section from both the north and the south, meeting in the middle.

First Avenue South will be reduced to two lanes.  Dearborn is scheduled to reopen Sept. 22.

WSDOT says it will pull viaduct demolition work zones back so that Alaskan Way has its full four lanes open while Dearborn is closed, but drivers should expect more congestion and consider taking alternate routes or using public transportation.