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First phase of 23rd Avenue tear-up nearly over

A stretch of Central District road is almost back to normal

Last week, the Seattle Department of Transportation reopened a stretch of 23rd Avenue in two directions, the first time that road has been clear since June 2015. The arterial, previously a four-lane street, now has one lane going in either direction with a turn lane in the middle—what’s sometimes called a “road diet.”

The project also involved widening sidewalks, replacing a water main, updating traffic signals, adding a greenway, and other improvements.

Metro Route 48 will serve 23rd Avenue again starting Thursday, reports Capitol Hill Seattle.

The closures and road work between South Jackson Street and East John Street were part of the first phase of the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project. SDOT crews will continue doing minor tasks to wrap up the projects, like installing street signs, in the coming weeks.

The next stop on the project is phase two, picking up where they left off at South Jackson Street and moving down to Rainier Avenue South. SDOT expects early designs and a schedule for that phase in late spring or early summer.

The project wreaked havoc on small businesses along the stretch, prompting the city to cut checks to the businesses affected. “We want to ensure these businesses come out of this even stronger,” Seattle Office of Economic Development director Brian Surratt told Seattle Times last April. “We’re not going away. We want to be their partners in this.”

As the project moves south, how the city handles mitigation will be something to watch.