Travel Advisory

December 2018

The “Seattle Squeeze”
Seattle Transportation in 2019 and Beyond

In the words of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, “we’re building a better city.” Before these improvements are complete, however, Seattle is scheduled to experience some growing pains. Beginning in January 2019, Seattle transportation is expected to experience congestion and delays as several major public and private construction projects impact citywide flow and access.

Read on for more information on upcoming projects. If you are visiting Seattle or planning to visit Seattle during these times and have questions about how this may affect your stay, please contact our Visitor Information Center at or by calling (866) 732-2695.


Quick Links: Alaskan Way Viaduct/SR-99 Tunnel ›› Washington State Convention Center Additional Facility ›› KeyArena Renovation ›› Recommended Transportation Resources ›› Contact Us




The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will demolish the existing overhead roadway and re-route traffic through a new tunnel beneath downtown Seattle.

January 11 through early February, 2019: This will be the most challenging period for mobility.

  • The Alaskan Way Viaduct/SR-99 closes permanently to all traffic.
  • SR-99 will close between Spokane Street at the south end to the Belltown neighborhood to the north.
  • For drivers heading south:
    • Exit to CenturyLink Field, Safeco Field, and Atlantic Street will close during the first week of January 2019.
    • SR-99 will be restricted to one lane.
    • The Battery Street Tunnel will remain open, but all drivers will be forced to exit at Western Avenue.
  • For drivers heading north:
    • Exits to Alaskan Way and Downtown Seattle will open two weeks after the new tunnel.

Early February 2019: The new SR-99 Tunnel will open to all traffic. Please note, there are no downtown exits from the new tunnel.

  • The south portal entrance will be parallel to CenturyLink Field, just west of First Ave S between S King Street and S Royal Brougham Way.
  • The north portal entrance will be just to the east of Seattle Center, near the intersection of Harrison Street and Sixth Avenue North.

Mid-February through July 2019: Alaskan Way Viaduct/SR-99 demolition will begin

  • Staging on surface streets surrounding demolition will create periodic traffic blockages; once complete, surface streets in those blocks re-open.
  • Seattle Waterfront businesses will remain open during demotion with variable access points.



Construction is underway on a 252,166-square-foot additional convention center facility on the site bordered by Pine and Howell Streets, and Ninth and Boren Avenues. Construction is currently underway and continues for the next three years; the new facility opens in spring 2022.

  • Mid-March 2019
    Due to convention center construction, buses will be permanently removed from the Metro Transit tunnel beneath and re-routed on downtown Seattle surface streets, impacting routes 41, 74, 101, 150, 255 and Sound Transit Express Route 550.
  • Now through April 2020
    To accommodate excavation work, Olive Way between Ninth and Boren Avenues will be re-routed to the north. Three lanes of access to Interstate-5 and Capitol Hill will be retained in the rerouted area, including one lane for buses and two lanes for other vehicles. A pedestrian walkway will be available along the new Olive Way route from Terry to Boren that will remain throughout excavation activities. In 2020, Olive Way will return to its original location with a new street, sidewalks, lighting, and landscaping.

Read More about Convention Center construction updates




This $700 million renovation of the arena on the Seattle Center campus in Lower Queen Anne will bring the complex up to NHL and NBA standards. Construction begins in early 2019 with extensive excavation and related truck traffic, and is expected to be complete in 2020.

  • During construction, the arena project will restrict one curb lane along First Ave N west of Seattle Center and one curb lane along Thomas Street, between the Center grounds and First Ave N.
  • Excavation hauling is expected to run until summer 2019.
  • Construction activity will be halted during major events at Seattle Center.

Read more about Seattle Center transportation updates





Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT)

Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

King County Metro Transit

Sound Transit (light rail, rail)

Seattle Center transportation updates

Free Waterfront Shuttle

One Center City Near-Term Action Plan
The result of a public-private partnership formed to ensure that Center City continues to thrive throughout the coming years of construction and growth


Real-time status and alerts can be found on Twitter vua the following accounts and hashtags:


Sign up for email and text alerts:

Employer/commuter resources:


For further information while traveling, please contact our Visitor Information Center at or by calling (866) 732-2695.



Seattle’s best every month in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Book Your Trip

Partner Advertisements