Seattle officials announced Monday the launch of live video streaming from 12 major intersections around the city to help commuters plan their travel before they hit the road during the nine-day Alaskan Way Viaduct closure.
Call it “viadoom,” “viadown” or “via con dios” — a twist on Spanish for “go with God” — but the nine-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct starting Friday night is expected to slow traffic in the region to a crawl.
Seattle officials announced Monday the launch of live video streaming from 12 major intersections around the city to help commuters plan their travel before they hit the road. The upgrade to the city’s Traveler’s Information Map will allow viewers to see real-time traffic conditions from their computer or iPhone or iPad.
“When the public has information, they can make choices and avoid the impacts,” said Mayor Mike McGinn at a news conference at the Seattle Transportation Department’s Traffic Management Center.
The city also plans to add uniformed police officers to major intersections to help direct traffic and reduce confusion during the closure, McGinn said. And officials are coordinating with the state Department of Transportation and King County Metro to continuously monitor traffic, publicize trouble spots and reroute or increase bus service.
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“If you don’t have to travel, don’t. If you do, consider changing modes,” said Matt Preedy, deputy program administrator for the viaduct-replacement project. All three governments are urging people to take transit, carpools or the West Seattle water taxi, vary their work hours or work from home.
Highway 99 south of downtown will close at 7:30 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Oct. 31. The viaduct will be closed southbound the whole time, and northbound on evenings and weekends except during sporting events at the stadiums.
Crews will use the nine days to demolish sections of the old Alaskan Way Viaduct and create a four-lane detour, to be used until a new stadium-area interchange and a tunnel to South Lake Union are done by the start of 2016.
Nine days is the longest full highway closure in Seattle-area history, according to transportation officials. About 87,000 motorists travel Highway 99 through Sodo, and more than 3,400 bus riders at rush hours.
The 12 areas chosen for the pilot project were selected based on online visits to the Traveler’s Information Map. Currently, only still images from 130 closed-circuit cameras around the city are available to the public.
The project is part of SDOT’s $19 million in traffic-management technology initiatives that include message signs, cameras and signal automation that responds to data about traffic flow and adjusts the length of green lights, said Rick Sheridan, department spokesman. He said the state contributed about $9 million, part of its $125 million investment in projects aimed at keeping traffic moving during the viaduct removal and construction of the waterfront tunnel.
Metro, which works with large employers to encourage bus ridership, has stepped up its efforts in advance of the viaduct closure. Starbucks, whose corporate headquarters is on First Avenue South, introduced a flexible work-hours policy for the closure, said Susan Whitmore, project manager for Metro employer services.
Similarly, the Port of Seattle is allowing many employees to work from offices closer to their homes. It also has underwritten the costs of an annual transit pass so employees pay just $10, Whitmore said.
Metro has added 92 trips along the Highway 99 corridor in the past 18 months, most in the south end where the closure impacts are expected to be greatest. The additional service will continue through the viaduct removal and construction of a new arterial along the waterfront.
Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.