Travel Advisory | Traffic shifting onto new Alaskan Way lanes between Marion and Union streets along the Seattle waterfront

Lane markings on new travel lanes between Spring and Seneca streets in preparation to open five blocks of the newly constructed Alaskan Way. Photo: City of Seattle.

The Waterfront Seattle Program is reaching yet another milestone! Overnight on Monday, July 18 we will open five more blocks of the new Alaskan Way which means travel lanes will shift east from the current street to the newly-rebuilt street, between Marion and Union streets.

These new improvements along the waterfront allow us to shift our attention west, to the park promenade and protected bike lanes, while opening completed improvements on the new waterfront to the public in phases. This shift will open:

  • Two lanes in each direction south of Union St
  • One lane in each direction north of Union St
  • Parking and loading areas in curb space
  • New wider sidewalks on the east side of Alaskan Way
  • Landscaped areas
New sidewalks and landscaped areas east of the new travel lanes between Marion and Madison streets. Trees are other vegetation are located in the foreground and left side of the image, with buildings and other vehicles on the left and right sides.
New sidewalks and landscaped areas east of the new travel lanes between Marion and Madison streets. Photo: City of Seattle.

Starting as early as 7 PM on Monday, July 18, to 6 AM on Tuesday, July 19, we will be working to transition traffic to this new configuration safely and efficiently. Access on Alaskan Way will be maintained with one lane in each direction between Columbia and Pike streets. Alaskan Way will be closed between Pike and Pine streets from 9 PM to 6 AM for Seattle Aquarium Expansion construction, vehicles will be redirected to Western Ave between University and Wall streets. Officers will be on site to assist with directing traffic. As we move forward with construction, we remain committed to minimizing disruptions, including working to ensure access for businesses, residents, and people using all modes of travel (transit riders, freight operators, drivers, and people biking, walking, and rolling).

Here is the current configuration of Alaskan Way, with two northbound and two southbound lanes on the west side, as well as the upcoming location of travel lanes following the traffic shift:

Video showing the travel lane shift that will be put in place overnight on Monday, July 18. Graphic: City of Seattle.

Here’s what you can expect on Alaskan Way between Marion and Union streets, once the upcoming traffic shift is completed:

This graphic shows what Alaskan Way, looking northeast near Madison St, will look like following the traffic shift. It includes, from left to right (or west to east), there is the existing sidewalk, construction work zone south of Seneca St and temporary loading area north of Seneca St, new southbound travel lanes, new northbound travel lanes and new sidewalks on the east side. The graphic uses different colors to depict each area along Alaskan Way.
This graphic shows what Alaskan Way, looking northeast near Madison St, will look like following the traffic shift. From left to right (or west to east), there is the existing sidewalk, construction work zone south of Seneca St and temporary loading area north of Seneca St, new southbound travel lanes, new northbound travel lanes and new sidewalks on the east side. Graphic: City of Seattle.

Check out this flyer for more information. 

Haven’t you shifted traffic already?

The Waterfront Seattle Program has been constructing a new Alaskan Way roadway just east of the current Alaskan Way since late 2019.

We’ve been opening new travel lanes in phases as sections of the new Alaskan Way are completed, including the travel lanes between S King and Columbia streets in late 2020, between Yesler Way and Marion St in mid-2021, and new transit-only lanes south of Columbia St in late 2021, along with a new bike path between S King St and Yesler Way.

What will the waterfront look like during continuing construction?

Alaskan Way has long been a key thoroughfare for downtown – essential for many businesses, commuters, and residents alike. For this reason, we committed to reconstructing travel lanes on Alaskan Way and to keeping traffic moving to the best of our ability before constructing the new park space. We are excited for this next phase of construction, which allows us to begin construction of our expansive new park promenade along the west side of the waterfront.

During construction of the park promenade along the historic piers, we have committed to limiting our work area over the summer months, recognizing the importance of maintaining access to Seattle’s iconic landmarks and highly visited businesses. Construction of a small portion of the park promenade is already underway between Yesler Way and Columbia St. Following the traffic shift, construction of the park promenade will extend north three more blocks, up to Seneca St. We will continue to coordinate closely with businesses along the waterfront.

Accommodating ongoing construction will require temporary lane closures and pedestrian detours. We will continue to share specific construction impacts through our weekly construction email updates. Please sign up here, or visit our website at waterfrontseattle.org for more information.

What’s next?

Early next year, we will open the elevated roadway north of Union St and complete the shift to move Alaskan Way completely from the west to east side, in the footprint of the former viaduct. Our work on Alaskan Way S in Pioneer Square, between S Main St and Yesler Way, cannot be completed in its ultimate and final configuration until Washington State Ferries (WSF) completes the majority of its work to replace the busy ferry terminal at Colman Dock. We anticipate returning to this area in 2023 to continue construction.

The improvements on Alaskan Way are not the only ones under construction, you can visit the Waterfront Seattle website to keep up to date on other improvements being built now! We are also excited to share that construction of the Marion St Bridge connection between Western Ave and Colman Dock will be starting as early as July 18. For more information, see this flyer.

Learn more:

The Waterfront Seattle Program is a collaboration between the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects and other Seattle departments including the Mayor’s Office, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Planning and Development, and Parks and Recreation.