SR 99 tunnel in Seattle opens to drivers late Sunday

SEATTLE -- It should be music to the ears of many commuters and residents in the Seattle area -- the SR 99 closure has ended, mostly.

The tunnel that "Bertha" bored opened to northbound traffic at about 11 p.m. Sunday.

Just after midnight Monday, all ramps to and from the tunnel , excluding the new northbound off-ramp to South Dearborn Street, were open, and the tunnel was open in both directions.

The South Dearborn Street ramp will take another week or two to complete, according to the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

In the meantime, the last exit on northbound on SR 99 approaching downtown Seattle will be at South Spokane Street. Drivers could see some congestion in the area until the new ramp opens.

WSDOT officials said law enforcement will be available to direct and assist motorists at some entrances to the tunnel through the overnight hours.

Currently, it's free to use the new tunnel, but tolling could begin as soon as this summer.

According to a news release, toll rates will range from $1 to $2.25 with a "Good To Go!" pass.

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