Seattle braces for highway closure, historic traffic squeeze

SEATTLE (AP) — A major thoroughfare for commuters along downtown Seattle’s waterfront is set to shut down for good, ushering in what officials say will be one of the most painful traffic periods in the history of the booming Pacific Northwest city.

A new tunnel will replace the 2.2-mile (3.5 kilometer) Alaskan Way Viaduct, which carries 90,000 vehicles each day, but the tunnel won’t open until several weeks after the viaduct closes Friday.

A mix of other construction projects will further constrain mobility in a city already known for its traffic woes.

Heather Marx with the Seattle Department of Transportation says everyone traveling in the region will be impacted.

The city, King County and state are increasing bus and water taxi service, among other mitigation plans.

Marx encourages people to refrain from taking solo trips in cars during peak commute times.