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King County to add water taxi during Seattle SR 99 closure

Good news for West Seattleites dreading the three-week closure of Highway 99 this winter: the King County Water Taxi could be a good travel alternative to downtown Seattle.

King County plans to add another water taxi vessel to the West Seattle route during a three-week viaduct closure in January.

The viaduct will close for good on January 11 so crews can connect the on- and off-ramps to the new State Route 99 tunnel.

RELATED: Complete Seattle tunnel coverage

Brent Champaco, senior communications planner with the King County Department of Transportation, says the additional vessel will hold at least 149 passengers.

But even without the additional vessel, there’s room for additional passengers to join the already scheduled fall sailings.

“If we use our average growth rate (over 2017) to apply to October 2017’s ridership numbers on the West Seattle route, we’re showing that we would have about 50 to 60 percent available capacity on our 278-passenger vessel that operates on the route if the closure happens in October,” said Champaco.

Champaco says the King County Department of Transportation is also taking other steps, similar to those during previous closures of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

“We are working on additional parking that would mirror our efforts in 2016,” Champaco said. “That would be inclusive of designated Vanpool parking areas, signage for no overnight on street parking (for more morning commute parking), and leasing lots from the Port of Seattle for parking. More shuttles to connect local neighborhoods and parking lots to the water taxi would also be provided.”

How to take the water taxi

The water taxi docks in West Seattle at 1660 Harbor Avenue Southwest and lands at its temporary downtown Seattle terminal at 801 Alaskan Way.

Weekday sailings begin at 5:55 a.m. The last returning sailing is at 6:45 p.m., with later sailings on Fridays and during Mariners, Seahawks, and Sounders game nights.

The most expensive fare is $5.75 for adults. Discounts are available for seniors, youth, and those with ORCA passes. There’s no extra charge to bring your bicycle on board.

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.