Viaduct closure setting records for other modes of transportation

SEATTLE - As the congestion in downtown Seattle grows due to the viaduct closure, SDOT on Wednesday said they are seeing more accidents.

SDOT says the number of daily accidents since the closure has more than doubled.

And as more cars clog downtown streets, there is more traffic into Shortys.

“We’ve seen an uptick in sales,” Shortys employee Dino De Jesus said.

Shortys and other businesses could be possibly benefiting from customers who stay in the city longer to avoid the evening rush.

“I think the biggest surprise for me is the people's response,” SDOT’s Director of Interagency Programs said.

Seattle transportation managers say people are heeding the warnings and changing commute behavior.

Hundreds more are biking to work. The Fremont Bridge for example is seeing a 25% increase in bike commuters.

Buses are more crowded and so is the Seattle water taxi.

“The numbers on the West Seattle route are record setting, tripling more than what we would see this of year,”

But even with people flocking to public transportation, the chokepoints for those who drive are miserable in many spots like 1st and 4th avenues in Sodo and I-5 North coming from the South Sound.

“Traffic was also affecting portions of SR 18,” WSDOT Spokesperson Travis Phelps said.

Traffic may not be running smoothly in many parts but Bertha is. WSDOT says the tunnel boring machine is making good progress. .

“Things look good at the moment,” Deputy Program Administrator of the viaduct David Sowers said.

As of Wednesday morning the tunnel boring machine has completed one third of the 385 feet dig with no damage to the viaduct or settlement.

“That's been one of the encouraging numbers we've seen the viaduct continue to remain stable,” Sowers said.

WSDOT and SDOT says the traffic is not as bad as it could be because the public's willingness to change up their commute. They hope commuters stay the course because the viaduct is not scheduled to reopen for more than a week.