As Seattle embarks on a three-week closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in preparation for the opening of the tunnel, we answered some commonly asked questions in our Facebook group "Seattle Tunnel Traffic."
Q: When is the tunnel going to open?
Transportation officials hope to open the tunnel February 4. Contractors have already built some contingency into their schedule for rain and a day of snow. If we get hit with extended severe weather, such as a week of snow, then the opening date could get pushed back.
Q: How much will the tunnel toll cost?
A: The toll will range from $1 to $2.25, however these prices won't take effect until summer 2019. Up until then, the tunnel will be free. Tunnel prices will vary depending on the time of day:
- 12 a.m. – 6 a.m. $1
- 6 a.m. – 7 a.m. $1.25
- 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. $1.50
- 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. $1.25
- 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. $2.25
- 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. $1.25
- 11 p.m. – 12 a.m. $1
- Weekends $1
- Three percent increase every three years beginning July 2022
Check out this article for a full breakdown of viaduct toll pricing.
Q: What will access into the tunnel look like from Mercer Street?
A: Drivers will have to drive through Mercer Street to enter the tunnel, so there is no way to completely avoid the Mercer traffic. The easiest on-ramp will be located on 6th Avenue North which can be accessed from eastbound Mercer Street.
Q: What's the best route to get to the airport from north Seattle?
A: If you live in the Magnolia/Queen Anne area, even during the closure getting to southbound 99 is probably your best option. Taking it to South Lake Union and then getting onto I-5 via Mercer may seem like it may take a while, but it will be faster than navigating through downtown or taking Alaskan Way to SR 99 south of Seattle.
Q: When is the viaduct finally coming down, and when will the new Seattle waterfront be opened?
A: The viaduct removal is set to be finished by summer 2019. Crews will be deconstructing the viaduct section by section until it all comes down safely. Two crews will be working on the demolition, one at the north end and another at the south.
During this time, the waterfront will be open for all regular activities and ferries.
However, the re-envisioned waterfront project, including the promenade and waterfront park, won't be complete until 2023.
Q: Can I get a piece of the demolished viaduct as a souvenir?
A: Yes. Small pieces of the viaduct will be available for the public to take at a celebration for the new tunnel on February 2-3. The rest of the structure will be rubblized and used to fill in the Battery Street Tunnel.
Join KING 5's Seattle Tunnel Traffic Facebook group to stay up-to-date on the latest Seattle tunnel and Viaduct news and get tips to battle traffic during the three-week Viaduct closure in January.