Road construction begins today on Columbia Street to deliver future transit improvements. The first phase of the project is focused on a stretch of road between First Avenue and Third Avenue.
The street is a vital one-way conduit for traffic and transit in the Midtown office core, which leads to an SR-99 on-ramp. The construction project will convert the one-way street to a two-way street allowing buses to eventually run from Alaskan Way to Third Avenue in both directions. At present, West Seattle-bound buses (e.g., RapidRide C Line and Routes 55 and 120) use it as a pathway to the on-ramp in a partially dedicated lane between Third Avenue and First Avenue.
Construction on the first phase will last about six months with work wrapping up in June. New concrete will replace asphalt to create a stronger surface for heavy buses and reduce long-term maintenance needs of the street. The project will also involve installation of new signals, modifying the curbs for future operations, and replacing water pipes underground. King County Metro Transit and the City of Seattle are sponsoring the first phase of the project with funding coming from Metro and the Federal Transit Administration.