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January 2019 Alaskan Way Viaduct Closure Information

The Alaskan Way Viaduct will permanently close on Friday, January 11, 2019 at 10 p.m., causing several weeks of traffic impacts in the greater Seattle region as the Washington State Department of Transportation realigns SR 99 into the newly-constructed tunnel through downtown Seattle.

South Seattle College encourages everyone to start making plans early to help lessen the impact of this closure on your travel to and from the college. This page provides information on how students, faculty and staff can prepare for impacts to their commute and time at the college.

South Seattle College is committed to working with students, faculty and staff through this potentially challenging situation. The most important thing is to have a plan, to keep abreast of communication (from the city/metro, the college and your instructors), and to be thoughtful and kind to those most dramatically affected.

Viaduct Closure: What to Expect

Information in italics from Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT):

The longest major highway closure the Puget Sound Region has ever seen begins 10 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. State Route 99 will be closed from South Spokane Street to the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel.

WSDOT will need to close SR 99 through downtown Seattle for approximately three weeks to realign the highway into the tunnel. During this closure both the viaduct and the tunnel will be closed. This disruption is unavoidable due to the large amount of work involved in re-aligning SR 99 with the new tunnel. Additional ramp closures mean up to six weeks of traffic disruption.

We should all expect longer commute times for all modes of transportation, and recognize the impacts may last beyond the three week realignment to the tunnel. Even if your travels to the college do not involve State Route 99, there could be delays radiating far from the actual closure zone.

Additional Information about the closure:

Alternative Transportation Planning

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to explore rideshare options, using public transportation or biking/walking during the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure. Learn more about transportation options serving South Seattle College here and explore external resources below.

Trip planning resources

Adjust your travel times & know before you go
Transit and park & rides
Work from home
Rideshare: Carpool, vanpool and vanshare
Water taxi, ferries

Student Considerations During Closure

  • At the start of Winter Quarter, discuss the viaduct closure with your instructors to understand their expectations during the period of traffic impact.
  • If, during the closure, your commute is delayed to the point of missing a class, please communicate with your instructor as soon as possible. If you are driving, please abstain from sending communications while operating your vehicle.

Faculty & Staff Considerations During Closure

Options to consider include:

  • Alternative work schedules or locations.
  • Flexible modalities of instruction (to reduce the impact on students).
  • Carpooling (and other alternative modes of transportation).

Employees should begin discussing plans with your supervisors and practicing your preferred accommodations as soon as possible. As a reference, the city of Seattle has a website dedicated to transportation options during the closure.

Everyone is being asked to limit and/or reschedule intercampus meetings held during the viaduct closure and to use alternative meeting formats.

Alternative Work Schedules

Alternative work schedules need to be mutually agreed upon by the employee and supervisor and must adhere to union contracts

Flexible work hours also are an option. Please note:

  • Exempt employees are expected to work 40 hours per week
  • Classified employees may vary work hours within the 40-hour week (e.g., four 10-hour days or four nine-hour days and one four-hour day)

Contact HR, as needed, for assistance

Alternate Work Locations

Seattle Colleges’ telecommuting policy (No. 447) can be found at The site contains guidelines and a form employees and supervisors should use to record the work-from-home agreement. Please contact the IT Help Desk in advance if IT-related assistance is needed

If you are considering working from another location (e.g., you work at North Seattle College but would like to work at South Seattle College), please contact your supervisor first. Upon agreement, contact your colleague at the desired site to see if there's space. You will also need to confirm computer and network access.

Employees affected by the Siegal renovation should contact their host for extended accommodations.

Flexible Modalities of Instruction

Faculty may adjust their “in person” time and are asked to consider hybrid, online, and other methods. E-learning staff are a great source for ideas, recommendations, and best practices. This also represents a good opportunity to incorporate new delivery methods into the course syllabus

Carpooling (and Other Methods)

Employees are able to purchase both a parking permit and an ORCA card for Winter Quarter 2019. If you are interested in these options, or the Zimride carpool-matching service offered to Seattle Colleges staff and students (, please reference the recently sent email from your campus transportation coordinator or contact them directly at:

South Seattle College: James Lewis,