To help move more people through the area during upcoming construction, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will convert the southbound curb lane of Aurora Avenue North, just south of the Aurora Bridge, into a Business Access and Transit (BAT) lane. Serving one of the busiest transit corridors in Seattle, the lane will start south of the Dexter Avenue off-ramp and continue south to Mercer Street. Crews plan to perform the lane re-striping June 24 and it will go into service after the morning commute on June 25.
King County Metro Transit will be starting RapidRide E Line service on Aurora Avenue North in 2013, but asked the City to install the lane earlier to keep buses moving during several ongoing construction projects. Metro carries almost 30,000 passengers a day on the Aurora corridor, which helps reduce the number of cars on the road. Using the new southbound BAT lane will allow Metro to establish the travel pattern for both current and future service on Aurora, instead of changing it repeatedly to work around construction projects.
Two upcoming projects are the City’s Mercer West Project (http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/mercer_west.htm ) and the Washington State Department of Transportation’s State Route 99 Tunnel Project (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR99/Tunnel ). Traffic congestion is expected to increase on southbound Aurora when lanes are temporarily closed for these projects, so optimizing transit travel will provide commuters with options for avoiding possible delays.
Utility relocation work associated with the SR 99 project will temporarily close the curb lane on Aurora Avenue North, south of the bridge over Mercer Street. This work will start on June 25 and last for eight to ten weeks. The Mercer West Project will need to restrict the number of lanes on Aurora Avenue North to two in each direction when the bridge that crosses Mercer Street is rebuilt. This work will begin in early 2013 and continue through the end of 2015, when the bored tunnel opens to traffic.
The new BAT lane will be in effect 24 hours per day, seven days per week, reserving the lane for buses and for any vehicle making a right turn.