SEATTLE - Crews with the Washington State Department of Transportation shut down lanes Wednesday to remove what’s left of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Traffic piled up at the intersection of South Jackson Street and Alaskan Way, where WSDOT closed lanes near the ferry entrance.
“We’re trying to do whatever we can to keep traffic moving, realizing that it is a really challenging time for everybody," said Laura Newborn, spokesperson for WSDOT.
Newborn said it was important for everyone to pay attention to the latest closures and detours. She said the information can be found on several resources, including WSDOT and SDOT websites.
“It’s a dynamic situation. So, as the contractor moves roads close. And as they clean up roads open. So, people really need to make sure that they’re in the know and that they stay informed,” said Newborn.
Demolition started in February 2019. For several weeks, Newborn said South Jackson Street would be closed and only one lane in each direction would be open on Alaskan Way. Newborn says WSDOT opened Yesler Way and South King Street to help with the congestion.
“That’s kind of how it’s worked, where we’ve been opening and closing streets and designing the work so it’s not multiple streets for a lengthy period and lengthy space,” said Newborn.
People who live, work and travel through the area said they followed the detours.
“I think if we all just plan on trying to stay out of the traffic as much as possible and use public transportation, which fortunately is really good in this city, I think we’ll get through it,” said Carolyn Plunkett, who lives near the construction.
“I think everyone needs to take a step back, think about the future and how much better it’s actually going to be. A little bit of inconvenience now for a much better future,” said Grant Samson, who travels through Alaskan Way.
Newborn explained local police would direct traffic at the intersection of Yesler Way and Alaskan Way. She said WSDOT assigned someone to monitor South Jackson and Alaskan Way intersection to see if the area needed traffic officers as well.
“We do whatever we can. We create lane space where we can,” said Newborn.