Today, The Viaduct opened early like we all suspected it would.
Said a friend of mine that has lived in North Seattle for 43 years … “These construction schedules are nothing more than PR bullshit. They always bid them long so they can finish up early and bask in the accolades of a grateful public.”
In any event, shortly after the road re-opened, I drove over to see what had changed. What I found was a lower speed limit, an S-curve, and what feels like a pretty narrow stretch of road sandwiched between two concrete walls.
The new 40 Mph speed limit up to the Battery Tunnel is going to be a revenue cop’s wet dream as most people are used to motoring along the elevated highway at 50 Mph, and the new lower limit just feels unnecessarily slow. Especially when traffic is wide open. I’m not sure why they reduced it by ten miles per hour, especially considering that most of the Viaduct has not been altered at all. I fear that this new limit will be used to abuse commuters by turning the Viaduct into a speed trap.
Perhaps the most problematic part of the “new” Viaduct will be the S-curve, howeber. This new turn sits at the bottom of a hill, and requires a 38% deceleration in the span of a hundred yards or so. Throw in a rain-soaked roadway and some lady on a cellphone, and you have the makings of a rough morning commute.
That being said, I suppose it’s better than no Viaduct at all.
Check out the changes below:
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