Upcoming Seattle project to affect White Center bus riders, too

Metro notes that some bus riders from/to White Center will be among those affected when the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening Project ramps up to its next phase in mid-May. Read on for the official news release they have just sent out:

In mid-May, the city of Seattle begins a new phase of its project to widen the Spokane Street Viaduct between Interstate 5 and the West Seattle Bridge. Construction of this project is expected to affect local bus service to West Seattle, White Center, Harbor Island and Vashon Island for more than a year.

On May 17, the city is scheduled to permanently close the westbound on-ramp from First Avenue South to the Spokane Street Viaduct to build a new on and off-ramp at First Avenue South. The new ramp is expected to open in fall 2011. Until then, buses that normally use the westbound on-ramp will be rerouted from First Avenue South to:

* west on South Hanford Street;
* south on East Marginal Way South;
* west over the Duwamish Waterway on the low-level bridge to West Seattle.

This routing is expected to add several minutes to the travel times of buses heading south and westbound when traffic levels are light or normal. But increased congestion is expected over the low bridge, which means buses could be delayed significantly longer. Buses could also be slowed by trains crossing Hanford Street or openings of the low bridge for ships.

The King County Metro Transit bus routes expected to be affected the most are:

21 Local – Arbor Heights
22 – Alaska Junction, White Center
35 – Harbor Island
56 Local – Admiral District, Alki
57 – Genesee Hill, Alaska Junction
85 Night Owl – Admiral District, White Center
116 – Fauntleroy
118 – Vashon Island
119 – Vashon Island

Passengers on these bus routes should plan for extra travel time, particularly during the afternoon commute. On northbound trips heading toward Seattle, these bus routes will probably have more normal travel times.

Route 132 also travels on First Avenue South but does not use the Spokane Street ramp. It could encounter increased traffic congestion traveling southbound.

Bus routes that normally operate on the Alaskan Way Viaduct and East Marginal Way will not be rerouted, but could be delayed by traffic congestion if a large number of vehicles divert from First Avenue South.

These traffic conditions are expected to continue for some time. In addition to the Spokane Street project, there will be other city and state road projects throughout the SODO area – including construction this summer to begin replacing the southern mile of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Bus riders can stay informed about most scheduled reroutes by subscribing to Metro Transit Alerts for the routes they use.

You can also call Metro for help planning your bus trip at (206) 553-3000, or visit the online Trip Planner. Please note that information in the Trip Planner is based on regularly scheduled service and normal travel conditions. Check Metro Online at www.kingcounty.gov/metro for links to the Trip Planner and Transit Alerts.

Some West Seattle residents may find the King County Water Taxi a good way to commute during this time. Schedules, fares, and bus shuttle information are online at www.kingcounty.gov/watertaxi.

And, sharing a ride also takes vehicles off the road to eliminate some of the congestion. Visit RideshareOnline at www.rideshareonline.com for information on how to get started either with a vanpool, vanshare, or carpool.


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