Get ready for weeks of slowdowns on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle. Tuesday’s morning commute will be the first test.
Starting at 8 p.m. Monday, motorists and bus riders will be in for up to seven weeks of lane blockages and delays on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle while contractors build foundations for signs for the future Highway 99 tunnel.
About 74,000 vehicles a day use Aurora in the construction zone along Queen Anne Hill, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), and they should prepare for unfamiliar lane shifts and traffic jams behind buses.
The most difficult phase begins with the Tuesday morning commute. For four weeks, one left lane in each direction will be closed. During that time, southbound buses will travel and stop in the outside lanes with other vehicle traffic. General traffic will be allowed into the southbound bus lane and northbound curbside lane. Five bus lines, which carry 36,500 passengers daily, will be affected.
On some nights and weekends — including next weekend — traffic will be squeezed into a single lane each way.
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To maintain frequent service, King County Metro Transit will put three buses on standby in Shoreline and one in Pioneer Square to jump into the RapidRide E Line corridor as needed on weekday mornings. Four other buses will be ready in the afternoons.
By mid-February, all three northbound lanes will reopen, but the southbound bus lane will remain closed for one block, at Comstock Street.