Mercer West Construction Coming

The contractor is about to get Notice to Proceed on the Mercer West Phase of the Mercer Corridor Project, meaning construction to convert Mercer Street to two-way traffic from I-5 to Uptown is about to start. Atkinson Construction is tackling the mega effort that begins with improving the problematic portion of Mercer that goes under Aurora Avenue. The picture below shows what the area looks like now, with it’s 5-feet-wide sidewalk alongside one-way vehicle travel lanes.  The rendering below that shows what 50 feet of extra space to the south can do. 

To get there, construction must happen, and that involves impacts.  Those impacts are small in April, so you have time to psyche up for the bigger impacts come May: reducing Mercer Street to two eastbound lanes between 5th Avenue N and Dexter Avenue N and reducing SR 99 to two lanes in each direction between Harrison Street and Valley Street. 

Looking west on Mercer Street toward Aurora Avenue

Looking west on Mercer Street toward Aurora Avenue

 MercerWestRendering

The Mercer West Phase will widen Mercer Street to provide three lanes in each direction between Dexter Avenue N and Fifth Avenue N and converting the existing four eastbound lanes to two lanes in each direction between Fifth Avenue N and First Avenue N. The future Mercer Street will feature additional left-turn lanes, widened sidewalks, and a bicycle path between Dexter Avenue N and Fifth Avenue N. Additionally, Roy Street will also become a two-way street with bicycle lanes between Fifth Avenue N and Queen Anne Avenue N. Typical roadway cross-sections can be viewed here. Work is expected to be complete midway through 2015.

Early construction activities start with the aforementioned Mercer Street underpass, and of course include rebuilding the SR 99 bridge. Computer simulations exist for both the pedestrian/cyclist and motorist experience and viewing them may help distract you from the necessary complication of construction.

To help mitigate construction impacts, crews will begin making improvements in the area in late April including signal adjustments at the intersection of Fifth Avenue N and Harrison Street as well as signalizing the intersections of Dexter Avenue N and Republican Street and Broad and Harrison streets. Broad Street will also be re-opened to two-way traffic when impacts to Mercer Street begin to help ease eastbound congestion heading towards I-5.

It probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it here anyway…come May, travelers can expect significant congestion and delays when eastbound Mercer Street is reduced to two lanes during construction. Be sure to plan ahead and use alternate routes when possible…for a long time.