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Seattle drivers headed to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island ferries will be channeled into a five-block detour starting Thursday morning at 5 a.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

The detour will last two years and possibly longer, depending on how fast work proceeds on the Highway 99 tunnel and a proposed city sea-wall replacement.

There are three main changes:

* Alongside the ferry terminal, surface Alaskan Way will be taken over and converted to ferry-traffic holding lanes, a dropoff lane for taxis and private cars, and a road median where passengers will catch buses.

* Through-traffic will travel north-south in new lanes beneath the old Alaskan Way Viaduct.

* Drivers coming up from Sodo must continue north to Marion Street, and make a pair of left turns to reach the new traffic holding zone — instead of turning left onto the ferry dock at Yesler Way.

Temporary bike lanes will be marked.  Besides those routes, the state DOT will keep open the waterfront sidewalk from Yesler Way to King Street — allowing pedestrians and slow cyclists a traffic-free route from the ferry terminal to the Coast Guard base.

Closures and detours are needed for Highway 99 tunnel work immediately south of the ferry entrance. Here is a recent Seattle Times story about the detour, shown in the map below: