Part of Highway 99 down to one lane for 16 months

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by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 12:26 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 25 at 6:58 AM

SEATTLE -- When the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopened Sunday after another weekend closure, one southbound stretch of State Route 99, just south of the Viaduct, was reduced to one lane -- and it will remain that way for over a year.

The southbound stretch, which is less than a mile long, is located south of the Viaduct.  It runs from the West Seattle Bridge to South Idaho Street.  It will remain a one-lane road until June 2014, according to the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

There will be two lanes for northbound traffic along the same stretch.

This is all part of a $9.2 million project to replace the old timber bridge that supports that part of SR99.  The bridge resembles a vintage wooden roller coaster, rattling with each vehicle that passes over.  It was built in 1956 as a temporary bridge, WSDOT said, so it is long overdue to be replaced.

Drivers who use that stretch of SR99 are not excited about the project or its length. 

"I will avoid it at all costs," one driver told KING 5.

"It's gonna affect me," said another driver who lives on Vashon Island.  "I'll live with it. I love my island."

That driver planned on testing traffic for a few days before deciding on whether a detour would be faster.

In a statement, WSDOT said "the existing capacity can handle the commute without significant backups."  Southbound traffic will be most affected from 6 to 8 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m., WSDOT added.

For more information on the project, visit WSDOT's website:

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr99/spokanestovercrossing/

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