UPDATE: Viaduct for Dummies: Viaduct to Reopen Saturday, Ahead of Schedule

Alaskan Way Viaduct

Word just in that the WSDOT will reopen the Alaska Way Viaduct on Saturday morning, two days ahead of schedule. The SoDo southbound offramp will reopen on Monday.

Though north-south travel along the waterfront will once again be possible, it might be so annoyingly slow that some of us will revert to our Viaduct-pocolypse workarounds. Picture yourself and thousands of your friends squeezing onto a 4-lane roadway (two in each direction), weaving through SoDo before rejoining SR99. Picture yourself celebrating when you finally hit 25 miles an hour.

Yes, the route will be slow and crowded, no doubt! Take a cool virtual drive along the re-opened roadway here; the animation changes from northbound to southbound at about the 2-minute mark.

Next week will be good news for the rest of the city, as crowds thin out along work-around routes, but for West Seattleites and SoDorks, it's not clear yet whether it will be an improvement. 

When it's finished, the southern mile of the Viaduct will be replaced by two side-by-side bridges. There will be three (wider!) lanes in each direction, new bike paths, and on- and off-ramps near the stadiums. The new roadway will connect to the existing Viaduct at South King Street, and to the tunnel, once it's built.

Visit 2013 Seattle—and take a virtual drive along the completed waterfront route—right here.