The new Mercer Mess was in the air above central Seattle Monday morning as new copters jockeyed for position to show off the newly re-opened “two-way” Mercer Street. From the Seattle Times:
The “Mercer Mess” as you’ve experienced it for 44 years will come to an end Monday, when Seattle converts the busy eastbound corridor to a six-lane, two-way boulevard.
Drivers leaving Interstate 5 will continue straight toward Seattle Center, instead of turning right and snaking along Valley Street.
At the same time, sidewalks as wide as 20 feet will help pedestrians and bicyclists reach the growing campuses of Amazon and UW Medicine.
The Times says the $164 million project reverse a 1968 change designed to ease access to I-5. A full briefing on the change from SDOT is below.
Two-way Traffic Begins on Mercer StreetRapid completion of work allows early opening of two-way Mercer and I-5 on- and off-rampsSEATTLE – This evening the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced that two-way traffic has begun on MercerStreet. By rapidly completing needed tasks and opening the I-5 ramps early, the department placed both east- and westbound traffic on the road for the first time since the 1960s. In achieving this major milestone, the Mercer Corridor Project (East Phase) takes another step towards addressing the decades- long “Mercer Mess.”“After decades of traffic winding through the neighborhood, a two-way Mercer creates a more direct route for the 80,000 trips taken daily through South Lake Union,” said SDOT Director Peter Hahn. “While we still face another year of work on this phase and additional construction for Mercer West, this is a tangible sign of progress on this important corridor.”Two-way Mercer Street will now accommodate three lanes of westbound traffic that will travel straight off the I-5 off-ramps. EastboundMercer Street will maintain three lanes onto the I-5 on-ramps, in addition to a left turn lane onto northbound Fairview Avenue N as well as travel across Fairview Avenue N that allows eastbound access to Eastlake and Capitol Hill.With the opening of two-way Mercer, Stage 3 construction begins and includes restrictions on Fairview Avenue N. Roadway users will see:-One northbound travel lane on Fairview Avenue N between Harrison and Valley streets-No access to Fairview Avenue N via Republican Street and no southbound access onto Fairview Avenue N at the I-5 off-ramps atMercer Street-One southbound lane on Fairview Avenue N from Aloha Street connecting to westbound Valley Street-Valley Street closed to eastbound traffic east of Terry Avenue N-Access maintained to Lake Union Park and businesses in Chandler’s CoveThis temporary configuration will be maintained during Stage 3 of construction as crews complete work on Fairview Avenue N and Valley Street in early 2013. For more information about the project and its benefits, to include maps illustrating the two-way flow and new restrictions, please visit its website at www.seattle.gov/Transportation/ppmp_mercer.htm.