SEATTLE — Traffic was slow on Seattle’s busy Mercer Street transition to and from I-5 on Monday, the first weekday after construction crews reopened the area with a new configuration.
For the first time in decades, the south Lake Union-area street between I-5 and the Seattle Center now is a two-way thoroughfare.
Seattle Transportation Department spokesman Rick Sheridan acknowledged many drivers appeared confused as they headed from I-5 onto Mercer Street on Monday morning. The state Transportation Department said it saw long backups on southbound I-5 approaching the Mercer Street exit.
Television station helicopter shots showed heavy traffic heading out of the city on Mercer on Monday afternoon.
The city Transportation Department said the change will help alleviate a traffic problem known as the Mercer Mess. But probably not this week, as commuters get used to the change.
Traffic has been congested for decades in the area. The route handles about 80,000 vehicles a day.