The Alaskan Way Viaduct closes for approximately two weeks starting April 29, 2016.
If you are coming to or through downtown Seattle, it is time to make a plan for how you are going to get around. Expect traffic delays and be prepared for fuller buses during peak travel times. But all is not lost. Let Metro help with a variety of travel options that may help.
Shift Your Travel Times
When the Alaskan Way Viaduct closes for approximately two weeks, expect buses, trains and light rail to be more crowded than usual, especially during peak times. If you need to travel in or near Seattle, consider shifting your travel times. Riding an earlier or later bus can make a difference in the amount of time you spend on transit and making it to your destination. And hey, if you need to stay later before heading home, consider grabbing a bite to eat before you hop on the bus and wait for traffic volumes to die down.
During the viaduct closure Metro bus routes 21E, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125 and the RapidRide C Line will be rerouted off of the viaduct at all times. Buses begin rerouting as WSDOT starts closing ramps at 10 p.m. Thursday, April 28.
Heading in from the South End?
This might be a great time to ride Link light rail or the Sounder train. You may have to drive a different route than you are used to, but taking your car off the road and traveling by transit with limited or no traffic may be worth the extra time. Link light rail starts in Tukwila and travels through the Rainier Valley and SODO into downtown and on to the University of Washington with stops along the way. The Sounder train starts in Lakewood and makes stops in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila and Seattle.
Coming in from the North End?
The Sounder Train runs from Everett to Seattle with stops in Mukilteo and Edmonds. There are four trips into town in the morning and four back north in the evening. Give it a try, the train is a great way to stay off of I-5 and out of traffic.
Getting to Rail and Train Stations
Many light rail stations, train stations and park-and-rides fill up fast so you might want to:
- Check out bus routes to get to the station.
- Have someone drop you off and avoid parking all together.
- Ride your bike. There’s bike parking at most stations too. Check before you go to find out where you can park your bike.
Go with an ORCA card!
Travel with your ORCA card to pay your fares on transit. It's the easiest and fastest way to pay. And if you transfer between systems you receive a transfer credit for what you already paid. Get your ORCA card today!
Plan your trip
For more info on Link light rail and the Sounder train go to the Sound Transit website.
To plan a trip by bus, light rail or train, use one of our trip planners or call and talk to a specialist.
- On your desktop computer
- On your smartphone or other device
- Download the mobile app for iPhones and Androids
To cut through the confusion give us a call at (206) 553-3000 and talk to a rider information specialist about your transit options.
Wherever you live, working from home, or teleworking, is a great option. If teleworking works with your job, leave your slippers on and work from home rather than sitting in traffic. It's your best option during major highway closures like this one. Save time, money and stress by working from your living room. Work with your employer in advance of the closure and get your headset ready for conference calls from your favorite chair!
Another idea might be to work a partial day. Get to work to take care of the face-to-face needs and finish the rest of your work from home. Peak travel times are usually 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the morning and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the afternoons, but are expected to begin earlier and end later during the closure. Try to only go into the office on the days you need to if that’s an option for your workplace.
Need help convincing your employer to start a new telework program? We can help.
The Water Taxi just might be your ticket to downtown!
- A 10 minute ride from Seacrest Park in West Seattle to downtown
- A traffic-free 22 minute ride from Vashon Island
- Five additional round trips on the Vashon Island route will be added during the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure on weekdays!
- These additional sailings on the Vashon route will provide more opportunities to connect between the Water Taxi and Washington State Ferries' Southworth service.
- More parking around Seacrest Park at SW Bronson Way and Pier 2 for West Seattle riders. (See the special conditions for parking at Pier 2.)
- Water Taxi shuttles will run expanded service during viaduct closure
- To avoid stress about parking, Lyft and uberHOP are serving the Water Taxi.
- uberHOP is offering routes in West Seattle and Downtown for $2.50 and two free uberHOP rides with the promo code UBERHOP16.
- Lyft is offering a $10 discount to first-time Lyft users with the code SEATTLEVIADUCT.
- Pay with an ORCA card to save money and speed up the boarding process (exact change recommended if not paying with an ORCA card. No change provided or payment with credit cards.)
Make a plan to ride the Water Taxi.
King County Metro’s Rideshare Operations will help you get around during the viaduct closure:
Many of our 1,500 vans will be offering a free ride in an empty seat during the closure. Find a van that fits your commute at RideshareOnline.com.
Want a reserved parking space at Seacrest Dock or need a vehicle from Pier 50 to get to work? Find two others to ride with and a King County Metro vanshare — which includes parking, gas and insurance – will be completely free during the closure! Visit Rideshare Rewards for details.
Sharing the ride with just one additional person takes an extra car off the road and helps make the commute a bit smoother for everyone during the viaduct closure. Find your new commute partner for free at RideshareOnline.com.
If you just have to drive, consider sharing the ride with someone in your neighborhood. Register on RideshareOnline.com and find up to three carpool partners. If that isn’t going to work for you, consider leaving much earlier or later to avoid the rush. Peak travel times are usually 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the morning and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the afternoons but are expected to begin earlier and end later than typical rush hours. So if you can, it's best to try and drive only on the days you need to.
I-5 Express Lanes
WSDOT uses Express Lanes to assist the flow of traffic during busy travel times. Contrary to common belief, the I-5 Express Lanes, and some on- and off- ramps between Northgate and downtown Seattle, can be used by single occupant vehicles. While the Express Lanes may also be backed up during the closure, it’s another option to try if traffic on the main highways is bad.
If you are in a pinch, a carsharing car may be able to navigate through traffic to get you to your destination or to the edges of the bottle neck so you can make your way. Seattle has many different car share programs.
Download the apps and set up your accounts in advance so you're ready to go during construction.
Have you been meaning to explore bike commuting? Now’s a great opportunity to try! Bicycling can be faster than driving or transit, removes the stress of commute traffic, and builds exercise into your day. With thousands of other pedal-powered commuters in Seattle, there are plenty of resources to help get you started. Plan out your route using the City of Seattle’s Bike Map.
There’s bike parking in many places downtown too. Check out Commute Seattle’s bike amenities map and be sure to click the Private Bike Amenities and Public Bike Parking tabs at the top to see all that’s available to you.
If it works for you, walk for the last part of your trip into downtown to avoid the heaviest congestion, or walk the entire way if you live within a reasonable distance to work. It is a free, reliable option that’s good for you and good for the planet. Clear your head before or after work.
If you are already downtown and trying to head home, sometimes walking to the edges of town to catch a bus outside the congested area is a good option. Explore your neighborhood. Walk to a new bus stop or use a different transit route that might be a bit further away but could be more efficient and help you avoid heavy downtown congestion during the viaduct closure.