In a step towards solving the decades-long "Mercer Mess," the Seattle Department of Transportation opened Mercer Street to two-way traffic on Sunday night at 9 p.m., eight hours earlier than originally planned.
The new path is a straight shot to and from the freeway with westbound traffic, connecting to Broad Street on a ramp that will also open. As a result, Broad Street between 9th Avenue and the new ramp will close permanently.
SDOT warns that the next phase does not mean all the slowdowns will disappear. Much of the work and the closures will shift over to Fairview Avenue and Valley Street.
SDOT says they believe the work on nearby streets will cause some problems on Mercer, but overall the drive should be better. Crews hope to have all the work for this part of the Mercer construction project done by early 2013.
Work on the next phase of Mercer construction, west of Dexter Avenue, is also expected to begin in 2013.
Detour information available for Stage 3 construction
Detour maps illustrating two-way traffic flow on Mercer Street as well as the Fairview Avenue N restrictions are available online for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists at www.seattle.gov/Transportation/ppmp_mercer.htm
Impacts to transportation services
Due to upcoming construction on Fairview Avenue N, King County Metro Transit will temporarily reroute Routes 70/71/72/73, 83 and 309 beginning at 7:00 p.m. Friday, August 24. Buses will shift their routes off of Fairview Avenue N and travel instead on Eastlake Avenue N. A map of the reroute plan is online.
For more information about the project, its benefits or other factors, visit the website at www.seattle.gov/Transportation/ppmp_mercer.htm.