Southcenter Parkway & Klickitat Drive Re-Open; But Be Wary Of U-Turn Frenzy

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Story & Photos by Scott Schaefer

Tukwila’s Southcenter Parkway and Klickitat Drive have reopened, making access to that part of the city much better, just in time for shopping season.

BUT…as this Reporter experienced first-hand, there have been some changes that Drivers should be aware of:

  • When turning right (heading south) from the very right lane from Klickitat Drive onto Southcenter Parkway, you will be funneled straight ahead. You cannot turn left onto Strander Blvd. as you could prior to the construction.
  • This “funneling” may confuse and upset some Drivers trying to get to the mall. This Reporter ended up turning left into the parking lot of Outback Steakhouse, then heading north and turning east on Strander.
  • Many Drivers have been seen performing u-turns in this area to access Strander Blvd. and the mall.
  • If you want to get to the mall, stay in the middle lane of Klickitat and turn right, or turn left and head towards Nordstrom!

UPDATE: Apologies to everyone – this appears to have been driver error – as many Commenters have noted, to turn left onto Strander from the Klickitat interchange, stay in the middle/left lane. However, it is still confusing if you’re used to the “old way” at this location.

Here are some pics of the re-opened interchange:

As you turn right from the very right lane, the new interchange looks nice and smooth...

...until you realize you're being funneled straight ahead. Be aware of a u-turn frenzy ahead!

Here’s more on the re-opening from the city’s website:

After the roads open, the contractor will continue to wrap up some of the final construction elements of the project. Please expect some temporary lane closures within the project limits as these final elements are completed. These temporary lane closures will occur on up to ten days spread over the next month, with as much work being completed at night as possible. During this time, depending on weather, some of the work that will continue after the roadway opening may include:

  • Paving of the final layer of asphalt.
  • Turning on the new traffic signal just south of Strander Boulevard.
  • Construction of concrete crosswalks in the Doubletree Hotel vicinity. The crosswalks will require a minimum of 24 hours of cure time before vehicular traffic can cross them. Consequently, both directions of traffic will be routed to one side of the parkway while the first half of the crosswalk is curing, followed by the reverse process to complete the second half. These lane shifts may occur on up to four days spread over the next month.
  • Installation of a large sign structure across southbound Southcenter Parkway near the new tunnel. This work will most likely occur at night during late October. The new sign structure will have signs with arrows indicating which lane to be in for accessing I-5/SR 518, Strander Boulevard and Southcenter Park way.
  • Continued landscape maintenance throughout October. The contractor will provide this service to ensure the plants are established throughout the coming year. Some slopes may be temporarily protected against erosion using plastic or special matting.
  • Replacing all temporary wood pedestrian railings with new steel railings.
  • Continued monitoring and optimizing of the new traffic signal timing.
  • Installation of permanent striping. Some striping materials require a minimum cure time on asphalt pavements before they are installed. Permanent striping is also weather dependent.
  • Painting of concrete retaining walls. This will be completed as weather permits.

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5 Responses to “Southcenter Parkway & Klickitat Drive Re-Open; But Be Wary Of U-Turn Frenzy”
  1. Keith says:

    I thought it was clear that if you want to turn left on to strander, you need to be in the left lane Klickitat and go into intersection and then turn right to be in the turn lane.

    Seems quite clear to me, not sure what the problem is.

  2. Keith says:

    This makes a lot of sense to me. Many times previously I have turned right off of the bridge trying to go south on Southcenter Parkway and be forced to wait while people blocked the lane while trying to get into the left turn lane for Stander. This will make traffic flow a lot smoother in that area.

  3. nartweag says:

    the first picture shows that if you are in the left lane (on klickitat) you can either turn left or right onto southcenter.
    the second picture shows that if you had done this, there are 2 left turn arrows (from southcenter to strander).

    this will prevent all the blockage of people getting off the freeway and then trying to get into the 2 left turn lanes onto strander. freeway exiting drivers will have to take a different exit to get to the mall.

    but yes, it will take people a bit to get used to all the changes.

  4. Scot R says:

    The top picture indicates that you can turn right from the left lane (note the split turn sign between the two red stop lights. My guess is that you can get to Strander from taking the right from the left lane off of Klickitat onto the left lane on Southbound Southcenter Pkwy. Here is a link to a map of the new configuration.

  5. Okay everyone sorry about any confusion – it appears that *I* was in error – if you get in the very right turn lane you get funneled straight ahead; apparently you can turn right from the middle lane…my bad! thanks, scott

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