SDOT received some very exciting news June 19 when the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced that the Mercer West project was awarded $14 million from the Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. This critical piece of funding will allow the city to begin construction on the $98 million project and fully complete improvements to the vital Mercer Corridor. Work on the project will begin in early 2013 and be completed by mid 2015.
Mercer West will transform a major east-west arterial bottleneck into an integrated system of freight, transit, pedestrian, bicycle and car improvements that connect to the regional transportation system. It is the second critical phase in the Mercer Corridor program and will create a continuous two-way arterial street from Interstate 5 (I-5) to Elliott Avenue West.
The project will also provide a significant boost to the regional economy by creating over 1,000 project related jobs. Its improvements also support the creation of 50,000 new jobs in downtown Seattle and 12,000 jobs in nearby industrial centers. The project is also critical to the economic health of the Pacific Northwest by keeping freight traffic along I-5 and SR 99 moving through downtown Seattle, ensuring that over $80 billion in goods get to market.
This $14 million grant is the second TIGER grant awarded to the City of Seattle. In 2009, USDOT awarded the city $30 million to begin work on the Mercer East project. Providing valuable local jobs, that project is currently under construction and is slated to be completed in 2013. These two projects are key components of transportation system improvements that will connect the Alaska Way Viaduct replacement and SR 520 through South Lake Union and nearby neighborhoods.
Partners who supported the successful Mercer West TIGER grant application included the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Port of Seattle, the Puget Sound Regional Council, the Transportation Improvement Board, the Gates Foundation, Vulcan and a large number of community organizations.
Mercer West will widen Mercer Street between Ninth Avenue North and Fifth Avenue North and replace the State Route 99 (SR 99) Bridge over Mercer Street, providing three lanes in each direction, wider sidewalks and a bike path. The project will continue the six-lane cross-section of the Mercer East project under SR 99 and replace the winding westbound route now on Broad Street. From Fifth Avenue North to Queen Anne Avenue North, it will modify signals and channelization to convert the Mercer and Roy streets couplet into two-way streets. The project will also reconnect the street grid across Broad Street. For more information about Mercer West and its grant application, please visit the Mercer West Project web page.