Work to begin soon on Alaskan Way Viaduct

Major construction starts next week at the southern end of Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The state Transportation Department says crews Monday night will close busy First Avenue South just west of Qwest Field. The next day, the street will reopen with just one lane in each direction. That will last through April 1, while workers tear down the existing northbound onramp to the viaduct and start building a temporary replacement.

Later this winter, a new southbound offramp will be built near Safeco and Qwest fields. The work is the first phase in the long-term project to replace the aging viaduct along Seattle’s waterfront.

Transportation officials say they are hurrying to get the work done before baseball season starts. In addition to going past the two sports stadiums, First Avenue is a major route to Interstate 5 and the downtown ferry terminal.