'This commute is U-G-L-Y': Gloom finally makes for 'Viadoom' on Seattle roadways
SEATTLE -- "ViaDoom" may have been more of a "ViaDud" the first week of the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure, but the second week has not been as kind to drivers.
As a thick drizzle slickened roads across the Puget Sound region Wednesday, several crashes added to the pain of not having SR-99 as an option for getting around Seattle. But the rain wasn't just picking on Seattle, with tough commutes all over.
Tacoma was the harbinger of what was to come, with another semi-truck wiping out a barrier on a notorious I-5 curve near SR-16 for the sixth time since autumn began. That 3:30 a.m. crash forced the closure of I-5 for nearly 4 hours, but it was just the beginning.
5:48 a.m.: A crash blocked the express toll lane of I-405 North near NE 85th. It was early enough that it wasn't causing too much of a backup. But that would not be the end of 405's problems.
6:20 a.m.: Crash on I-5 north blocks HOV lane and the ramp at NE 175th Street in Shoreline.
6:23 a.m.: "Travel times are creeping up, but don't see any delays over 10 minutes... yet," WSDOT tweets. Way to jinx it...
6:28 a.m.: Now it's time to mess with the southbound commuter as a crash blocked two right lanes of I-5 south just before SR-526 in Everett.
6:33 a.m.: We went 4 minutes without a crash! Then came the 5th minute. Crash involving a bus on I-5 north blocked the left lane just before I-90: "Okay guys...let's all take a deep breath," WSDOT tweeted. "We've got our fourth crash in the last 10 minutes." Oh yeah, forgot about the other two already...
6:40 a.m.: Hey, South King County doesn't have a traffic issue yet! Let's fix that: A disabled car blocked the center lane of I-5 North at 272nd in Federal Way. "NB I-5 between Fed Way and Seattle is getting a raw deal right now," WSDOT says in a statement that you could interchange for just about any spot in the region.
6:47 a.m.: WSDOT notes the crash in south Everett near the Boeing Freeway has the travel time from Everett to Seattle at 75 minutes. Might be able to get in two audio books by the time you get to Seattle!
7:01 a.m.: "It's barely 7 a.m. and this commute is U-G-L-Y...," WSDOT tweets. But you know what they say about Seattle traffic: Beauty is only skin deep.
7:05 a.m.: Time to stop picking on the interstates. A crash blocks the left lane of SR-599 near I-5.
7:12 a.m.: The irony fairy makes a visit to Seattle (unless by "Light NB/SB 99", they mean the emptied viaduct...)
7:23 a.m.: Your turn, Renton! Crash blocks northbound I-405 just after the SR-167 interchange, and now travel times from Federal Way to Bellevue have reached 66 minutes. Stuck drivers wonder: Does Amazon have an unlimited Kindle plan?
7:29 a.m.: Hey, that crash in South Everett clear!
7:35 a.m.: Well, at least 520 has been fi... oh, a crash in the westbound lanes just east of I-405 blocks the right lane.
7:45 a.m. More Eastside troubles just in case you were like: "I can't take this 405 commute ANY MORE! I'm getting OFF this (@&*#^% freeway." Well if you were heading south, there's now a crash on the offramp to NE 8th Street. Pro tip: Don't all try to leave the freeway at the same instant!
7:54 a.m.: "Northbound drivers can't catch a break today," WSDOT tweets as crash now blocks I-405 before SR-167 in Renton. Southbound drivers: "Life ain't much of a picnic this way either." Floating Bridge drivers: "Weeeeeee! No crashes here!" #foreshadowing
7:55 a.m.: Those in the outlying areas are like: "SO glad I don't have to deal with this traffic mess! This is why I don't live in Seattle" -- Oh, by the way, SR-529 is now blocked in both directions at the Snohomish River Bridge... for boat traffic.
7:59 a.m.: They've cleared one accident on I-405 at SR-167 but don't worry, "we still have a lane or two blocked about 1.5 miles up the road" from another crash.
8:08 a.m.: "ALL CLEAR on NB I405 after SR 167. Well, the crash is clear at least. It's a total slog through the Renton S-Curves" (Dibs on the "Slog through the Renton S-Curves" band name!) Renton to Bellevue is now 59 minutes. You're asking Siri where the next Starbucks is to refill your venti mug. At least the offramps are open.
8:10 a.m.: West Seattle commuters have taken the brunt of the Viaduct closure so far. So the stalled car blocking the eastbound lane of the West Seattle Bridge seems especially cruel.
8:20 a.m.: Well, at least *Eastbound* 520 has been fi...oh, a crash in the eastbound lanes blocks the right lane at the I-405 off ramp.
8:31 am..: Tukwila's turn! Crash blocks the southbound lanes of I-5 near S. 188th Street. You know, I-5, it's not a contest between you and 405 to see who can have the most crashes. It's like golf. You want the lowest score.
8:44 a.m.: "The (rain) has really done a number on this morning's commute," WSDOT says. Everett to Seattle is at 75 minutes, Federal Way to Bellevue is at 81 and if you're really a glutton for punishment and want to get from Lynnwood to Tukwila amidst this mess, it's an estimated 82 minutes. Plenty of time to draft that letter in your head to Alaska Airlines begging them to offer flights from Paine Field to Sea-Tac.
9:00 a.m.: BINGO! Come on, you know you were playing at home. I-90 had been conspicuously absent from this list, but NO MORE! A crash blocked the HOV lane on I-90 west just east of the bridge.
9:31 a.m.: I-90 making up for lost time with a crash involving a semitruck blocking the ramp to I-405.
At least the weather will be drier the rest of this week!