AARoads Forum

Regional Boards => Northwest => Topic started by: ComputerGuy on January 18, 2009, 02:19:41 PM

Title: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: ComputerGuy on January 18, 2009, 02:19:41 PM
Quote
The Seattle Times - Northwest Voices | Bored tunnel to replace Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct

Posted by Kate Riley


Don't be deluded

Editor, The Times:

Wake up, Seattle!

The tunnel will have only four lanes compared with the six we currently have. There won't be any exits in downtown Seattle compared with the five exits we now have northbound at Columbia, Seneca and Western and southbound at Western and Royal Brougham Way. There won't be any access to Belltown, Magnolia, Ballard or lower Queen Anne without going all the way through to Mercer Street. You won't be able to get into the tunnel from downtown without going all the way south of Safeco Field or north of Denny Way.

And it's the most expensive option. How is this servicing Seattle? You won't even be able to get into the heart of downtown from the tunnel. Those of you who use it daily to get to your jobs downtown will have no option but to travel two miles of surface streets to get to your offices.

Don't be deluded by their proclamations that we'll "reclaim" the waterfront. Alaskan Way and the train tracks that run under the current viaduct will still be there; the same wide expanse of traffic and transit we have now between downtown and the waterfront will still exist. The viaduct will be replaced with more generic condos, not parks or recreation.

The politicians involved are pushing their own personal agendas, have stopped paying attention to the needs and wishes of their constituents and are spending our money recklessly at a time when none of us can afford it. Do something. Make your voice heard. Stop this ridiculous proposal.

-- Heidi Bernave, Seattle

Hybrid option

The whole process to determine the viaduct replacement focused on either a tunnel or an elevated structure. Why not a hybrid leaving the raised viaduct from the south to about Qwest Field and then a tunnel for the remainder of the distance along the waterfront? This would shorten the tunnel portion, save perhaps a half-billion dollars, reduce construction time, upgrade a major part of the waterfront and still preserve some elevated portion for the view.

An added benefit for the long run: If the tunnel proved to be a mistake, there would be less to correct.

-- Robert Mandich, Seattle

Greater capacity than alternatives

There is one aspect of the opposition to a bored tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way that I don't understand. Opponents say it would reduce the capacity of Highway 99 from six lanes to four. But all the other options, including a replacement viaduct, retain the Battery Street Tunnel with four lanes, which would serve as the "pinch point" of the system.

By contrast, the current proposal, as I understand it, has a four-lane bored tunnel plus the existing Battery Street Tunnel connecting to Alaskan Way, a wide boulevard. Thus, the total capacity of the system through downtown Seattle would actually be greater than under the alternatives. In addition it would, of course, open up downtown to the waterfront.

So, other than cost, what's not to like?

-- Donald Padelford, Seattle


What do you think?
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct...Seattle's big Topic of 2009
Post by: John on January 18, 2009, 02:24:52 PM
They need to do something, its in almost as bad a shape as the Embarcadero Freeway was. They should probably make a surface boulevard like, again, the Embarcadero.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct...Seattle's big Topic of 2009
Post by: Alex on January 18, 2009, 02:26:36 PM
Chris Kalina posted on the Yahoo! Groups NWRoads Group:

So it looks like a Tunnel is called for - The new tunnel would be a
more direct route from the Denny Way interchange to the current south
end of the viaduct. The existing Battery street tunnel will remain open
for waterfront bound traffic and surface street improvements for
Western (northbound one way) and Alaskan (one way southbound)
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct...Seattle's big Topic of 2009
Post by: ComputerGuy on January 18, 2009, 02:27:13 PM
They need to do something, its in almost as bad a shape as the Embarcadero Freeway was. They should probably make a surface boulevard like, again, the Embarcadero.

The governor decided for a tunnel. A surface boulevard already exists, Alaskan Way, hence the name.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct...Seattle's big Topic of 2009
Post by: Alex on January 18, 2009, 02:29:42 PM
Remember during the 2001 Seattle Earthquake when people were hoping that either the viaduct would collapse or that it would be damaged severely enough to warrant its demolition?

(http://www.southeastroads.com/blog/northwest/wa-099_sb_at_i-090_stub.jpg)
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: John on January 18, 2009, 02:31:00 PM
I know there is a surface boulevard, but it is overshadowed by the viaduct.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: Chris on January 18, 2009, 02:32:17 PM
Traffic volumes are around 80,000 according to the traffic count PDF of Washington DOT I have stored on my PC. That's not particularly high for a Seattle freeway, but too much to handle on an at-grade boulevard, unless that boulevard would have been like 14 - 20 lanes wide. So I think a tunnel is the best solution.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: V'Ger on January 18, 2009, 04:49:46 PM
The Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco's boulevard seemed to work out ok, I wonder why it's not really being considered here.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: John on January 18, 2009, 05:01:34 PM
It would work, except the traffic counts are much too high. The Embarcadero Freeway (at least they way it was built) didn't really go anywhere and therefore it had low traffic counts.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: ComputerGuy on January 18, 2009, 07:47:40 PM
Seattle - Alaskan Way Viaduct = More traffic accidents/commute time up
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: agentsteel53 on January 19, 2009, 07:31:08 PM
Bored tunnel to replace Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct

*yawn* what should I do today? watch some TV? do the dishes? nah, I'll replace an old freeway alignment; maybe that will bring some excitement to my life.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: un1 on January 19, 2009, 08:41:21 PM
Someone enjoying learning how to use SMF? Well it seems to be working.  :-P
My least favourite about post like that is hen people edit the topic title. So title changing post.  :pan:
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: John on January 19, 2009, 11:42:17 PM
Eh, I'm used to it from SC4D.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: Chris on January 20, 2009, 03:41:38 AM
A similar idea in Canada is chopping down the eastern Gardiner in Toronto.

I lookup the traffic volumes are even higher than the Alaskan Way Viaduct there.

Maybe they can learn from the Madrid bypass-sur project, which has brought down the entire southern part of the M-30 beltway, including underground freeway-to-freeway interchanges.

People thinking too easy about removing freeways. The traffic will not dissapear, but go somewhere else, like clogging a nearby freeway or surface streets. What would be worse, a huge viaduct or a 24/7 clogged boulevard?
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: ComputerGuy on January 20, 2009, 09:42:48 AM
A similar project was Boston's Big Dig
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: Chris on January 20, 2009, 09:47:57 AM
The Big Dig was a far bigger project, including an I-90 subsea tunnel and a new bridge, and rehabilitation of that part of downtown, and not least, a new interchange with I-90/I-93.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: ComputerGuy on January 20, 2009, 06:29:01 PM
Yea...Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Project is smaller
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: Scott5114 on January 31, 2009, 04:01:57 AM
Bored tunnel to replace Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct

*yawn* what should I do today? watch some TV? do the dishes? nah, I'll replace an old freeway alignment; maybe that will bring some excitement to my life.

If you weren't going to make that jokes I was.  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: corco on January 31, 2009, 11:17:41 AM
Given Seattle politics I'll believe it when I see it.

Also a single bore tunnel with no interchanges doesn't really appeal to me that much
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: Revive 755 on February 02, 2009, 09:39:30 PM
It looks like an overpriced dream.   If I'm understanding the proposal correctly, there will still be the container port blocking the waterfront south of Jackson Street, so that section should stay elevated to reduce the length of the tunnel.

I don't really see the current viaduct as much of a barrier; I'd rather walk under it than cross a high volume, 6+ lane surface street at grade. 

In my opinion, people who dislike freeways need to live in a medium sized city without any, and see what fun it can be to get across town, especially when the arterial system also stinks.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: corco on February 03, 2009, 12:13:38 AM
The thing people in Seattle who are anti-Viaduct don't seem to understand is that the Port is a huge part of that cities economy. Get rid of some the major north-south waterfront corridor and freight isn't going to move. A large number advocate tearing it out altogether and just making a nice four lane road with increased bus service to get people away from their cars. People don't seem to understand that semi-trucks can't ride buses. That freeway is absolutely critical- far moreso then the Embarcadero was to San Francisco (a lot of people in Seattle compare the viaduct to the Embarcadero)- Seattle's port is bigger and more active and the odd geography of the area makes it so there isn't much room to relieve traffic congestion. Improvement to arterials in Sodo is a start but as far as a way to bypass downtown with easy north-south access for Port freight, commuters to the port, and the thousands of people who otherwise do irregular business at the port, the viaduct is the only way to go. They're not going to somehow make 1st Ave through downtown Seattle semi-truck friendly.

And that's the other problem- demolish the viaduct altogether and you're pushing truck traffic downtown. That sucks for truckers and for the people walking around downtown. Nobody likes being surrounded in semi-trucks and their smells and noise when they're trying to walk around downtown shopping. Keepiing them on a freeway in one place is the best bet there. Downtown Seattle would be screwed if it were suddenly overrun by semi-trucks.

That said, I'm skeptical that the tunnel will work nearly as effectively. With the financial pinch WSDOT and the City of Seattle are in right now I  don't understand why they don't consider the cheapest option- retrofitting the existing viaduct to last for another 50 years. Maybe at that point we'll have made the necessary improvements to multi-modal transport that an all-rail port or something can be created, but at this point in time Seattle needs its viaduct and getting rid of it for something that's even half as good is going to absolutely suck for the Port.

The benefit is that since I'm a former resident of Tacoma and like watching that town do well, it might get increased Port Traffic as it has none of these traffic issues and they're actually improving things with the new SR 167 to 509 connector (as well as improving rail access) and finishing the SR 167 freeway upgrade. We'll see what happens.

/end rant
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: mightyace on June 23, 2009, 06:36:46 PM
Here's the latest on a HWY 99 tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Washington state hot spot for toll projects - 99 Tunnel under downtown Seattle (http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/4220)
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: J N Winkler on November 04, 2009, 11:22:09 AM
Dose of realism:  WSDOT has advertised a major contract to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct between South Holgate Street and South King Street.

http://www.bxwa.com/bxwa_toc/pub/1573/s36_alaskan_way_viaduct_replac_61897/info.php (http://www.bxwa.com/bxwa_toc/pub/1573/s36_alaskan_way_viaduct_replac_61897/info.php)

Signing plans are in Volume 5 (of 11).

As a point of interest to former MTR regulars, the signing plans were prepared by Scott Kuznicki, who used to post to MTR regularly but has not done so for about three years.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: Landshark on December 10, 2010, 12:12:41 AM
Winning team promises to build a wider Highway 99 tunnel, a year sooner

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013636817_99tunnel10m.html

The Highway 99 tunnel would be at least two feet wider than expected, and could open nearly a year before the state requires, according to details about the winning bid released Thursday.

Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: brownpelican on January 06, 2011, 11:42:18 PM
It's a done deal: Governor signs the contract for the tunnel, dubbed "the world's largest diameter deep-bore highway tunnel..."

http://www.seattlepi.com/transportation/432864_tunnel6.html (http://www.seattlepi.com/transportation/432864_tunnel6.html)

And here's a gallery of photos of the viaduct, courtesy of the paper.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/gallery.asp?SubID=5969&page=1&gtitle=P-I%20archives%3A%20Alaskan%20Way%20Viaduct (http://www.seattlepi.com/local/gallery.asp?SubID=5969&page=1&gtitle=P-I%20archives%3A%20Alaskan%20Way%20Viaduct)

Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: Landshark on January 07, 2011, 08:59:50 PM
Here is another article on the tunnel:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013867057_99tunnel07m.html?prmid=related_stories_section
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: Henry on January 28, 2011, 03:28:27 PM
This would be very interesting to see!

However, I don't think a tunnel under downtown Seattle would be the answer. For one, no exits until you exit out of the thing. For another, bad, New York-like congestion when construction actually takes place.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: corco on January 28, 2011, 03:40:54 PM
Quote
For one, no exits until you exit out of the thing.

I don't see that as a big issue- it's not like the existing Columbia/Seneca ramps are hugely used and the current viaduct doesn't have much access into downtown. The vast majority of traffic is Port of Seattle/West Seattle Bridge traffic, which would still have access to the tunnel.

Quote
For another, bad, New York-like congestion when construction actually takes place.

Yeah, it's bad for a couple years, but some major construction is going to have to take place, even if it means building a new viaduct. The current structure would have to come down before they could build a new viaduct, which is really the only other option (assuming the boulevard option has been struck down, but that was a horrible option to being with).

I don't see much value in keeping the waterfront separated from downtown just to save two ramps, which is all you get by keeping the viaduct. I admit I've used the southbound one off Columbia after Mariners games to head to Tacoma. If you're parked in the Kingdome lot it's much faster to go up First and then take the viaduct back down, but beyond that there's not much value. If I ever do that again, I'll just park south of the stadium. There's already no way to get off the southbound viaduct into downtown and no way to get on the northbound viaduct, so it's not as if a tunnel really restricts things.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: vdeane on January 29, 2011, 10:28:43 AM
Why would there be no exits?  There are tunnels with exits, like the Big Dig.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: corco on January 29, 2011, 02:00:39 PM
Quote
Why would there be no exits?  There are tunnels with exits, like the Big Dig.

Cost.

The tunnel also isn't very long and will serve an area that barely had exits before, so it's not worth it.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: Revive 755 on January 29, 2011, 08:34:45 PM
And here's a gallery of photos of the viaduct, courtesy of the paper.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/gallery.asp?SubID=5969&page=1&gtitle=P-I%20archives%3A%20Alaskan%20Way%20Viaduct (http://www.seattlepi.com/local/gallery.asp?SubID=5969&page=1&gtitle=P-I%20archives%3A%20Alaskan%20Way%20Viaduct)

Picture 72/92 has a sign with a US 99 shield, but a date of March 21, 2002

(Edited to fix quoting error)
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: corco on January 30, 2011, 02:32:31 PM
I managed to get one final shot of it (for myself) when I was up there in September 2010
(http://www.davidjcorcoran.com/us99south.jpg)

I suspect they'll leave it up until they tear the viaduct down, which should happen in the next year or two.
Title: Re: Alaskan Way Tunnel?!?!
Post by: Stephane Dumas on April 02, 2011, 06:58:13 PM
It could had been interesting to have underground some connector ramps linking the tunnel to I-90.