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$74 million later, Mercer Mess has improved by two seconds

Seattle’s biggest traffic jam remains unchanged despite “improvements”

The Mercer Mess. Just mentioning it sends shivers down the spines of Seattleites who really need to the I-5 from Queen Anne or South Lake Union (or vice versa). When Mercer Street was built in the 1950s, it was meant to be a temporary solution to work around I-5 construction. That temporary solution never got a solution of its own and over the years the congestion along this road during rush hour is the worst in the city without fail.

The city has spent roughly $74 million trying to improve the Mercer corridor. Those improvements have included opening up Mercer Street to two-way traffic, widening the road and sidewalks, and providing bikeways to make it easier for cyclists an reduce conflicts.

According to a new report by TomTom (via PSBJ), all of these improvements have so far left traffic flow nearly unchanged along The Mess.

TomTom’s data says that, between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., congestion has improved along Mercer Street from Elliott Avenue to Interstate 5 by a whole two seconds since 2014. Woof.

The city has more work planned for Mercer, including a $1M project to improve traffic light timing, but even then they admitted this will not have much impact on commute times.