When you re sitting in traffic on Mercer street, listening to the horns honk and feeling time slip inexorably away, just close your eyes and remember this picture. It's a tranquil vision of the future, a future beyond The Mercer Mess , a future of three lanes each way, a new underpass with widened sidewalks and even flowering trees.

In the meantime, get ready for plenty of jam-ups and slow-downs near Seattle Center as the Mercer Corridor Project moves into a new two-year construction phase.

There are three potential choke points to keep in mind if you plan to travel this direction:

  1. Mercer Street east-bound will narrow to just two lanes where it passes under State Route 99. This stretch of road can be bad even on good days, and even worse when there are big events at Seattle Center.
  2. Northbound on SR 99 you will have to take a 90-degree right turn on Republican if you want to work your way to Mercer and then to I-5. The old Broad Street exit is gone.
  3. A stretch of SR 99 just north of the Battery Street tunnel will shrink to two lanes each way, north and south. And it s not a straight shot; there s a quick jog that makes this a nasty little chicane that could slow the flow of traffic.

Plan ahead, keep your cool and remember that in two years the Mercer Mess will be transformed into that tranquil picture.

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