VIA-DOOM. The very mention of a 21st Century portmanteau such as this demands a chill running down your spine. Hairs stand on end, goosebumps form, and before you know it commuters from all over are quaking in their boots. The absence of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will, as you may already know, clog and impede traffic in and around Seattle for the next few weeks until that tunnel finally opens. Interstate 5, SR-99 and both floating bridges will likely see traffic jams we haven’t seen in the Pacific Northwest since Interstate 405 got the Renton S-curves straightened in 1990. (ask your mom & pop)
Fear not, Bull Nation! It’s not the biggest construction project the state has ever seen. Let’s take another look at the 405:
BEHOLD, a shot of the 405 without literally all of humanity on it at once!
Back in those good old days, what we now know as the most congested highway in Washington State was then called Secondary State Highway 2A. It wasn’t much more than a rain-soaked track of mud (even in 1927!) but it did connect the logging and farming communities of modern-day Redmond to the Everett harbor as well as the growing township of Renton. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 (also known as the National Interstate Act) contributed greatly to the paving of this stretch of road, and it was renamed Interstate 405 in 1971.
During this construction, all the East-side loggers, farmers, businessmen and our parents had to either go around the west side of Lake Washington (if travelling from Renton to Bellevue) or the east side of Lake Sammamish if getting from Bellevue to Everett. And we complain about a 45 minute commute! In the grand scheme of things, the 405 as it is isn’t so bad!
*By the by, if you’ve ever wondered why there’s no Exit 8 in between NE 44th St and Newcastle, it’s because of this: (hint – click the link. You know you want to!)
But enough about the 405. Back to VIA-DOOM. If you use SR-99 to get into Seattle from the north end, you’ll have to exit on Western Ave. From the south, Spokane St is the end of the line. If you absolutely HAVE to drive into the city, also consider the loss of all the parking under the old Viaduct that stretches from the stadiums to south of the Battery St Tunnel. Also remember that the heaviest commutes are typically 6 – 10 a.m. and 3 – 7 p.m, so plan ahead.
Bull Nation highly recommends taking another look at the Link Light Rail, where you can “park and ride” (they named it that for a reason!) and leisurely pull into downtown in about 30 minutes. Well, at least until commercial jet packs or flying cars are a thing.
Seattle commuter, commuting. (ca – 2075, colorized)
~Ben On The BULL