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Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel

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jakeroot:
Current Status (as of 04 FEBRUARY 2019):

TUNNEL OPEN ... ENJOY!


Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program

In summer 2013, the world’s largest-diameter tunneling machine began a historic journey beneath downtown Seattle. Its purpose: dig a tunnel to replace the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct, a double-deck highway that has spanned the downtown waterfront for more than 60 years.

The machine’s task sounds straightforward enough, but the story behind it is complicated. It begins with an earthquake in 2001 that damaged the viaduct and led to a decade of debate about how to replace the structure. The story's conclusion is unfolding now, as we at the Washington State Department of Transportation, along with our agency partners, build a new SR 99 corridor through Seattle that includes:

- A two-mile-long tunnel beneath downtown Seattle.
- A mile-long stretch of new highway that connects to the south entrance of the tunnel, near Seattle’s stadiums.
- A new overpass at the south end of downtown that allows traffic to bypass train blockages near Seattle’s busiest port terminal.
- Demolition of the viaduct’s downtown waterfront section.
- A new Alaskan Way surface street along the waterfront that connects SR 99 to downtown.

The tunnel will change the way traffic uses SR 99 in Seattle. Drivers approaching the tunnel from either direction will face a choice depending on their destination: use the tunnel to bypass downtown or exit to city streets and head into downtown. At the tunnel’s north end, downtown access will be similar to today, with on- and off-ramps near Seattle Center. From the south, new on- and off-ramps will connect SR 99 to downtown via the new waterfront street.

Halfway There

Half of the viaduct is already gone, demolished and replaced by our crews at the south end of downtown, near Seattle’s stadiums. Completed on budget and one year ahead of schedule, this new section of SR 99 connects to the remaining viaduct along the waterfront to keep SR 99 traffic moving until the tunnel opens in 2016 2017 2018 2019.

Related Projects

As part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, King County, City of Seattle and the Port of Seattle are planning street, transit and waterfront improvements. Click on the related projects map above to learn more.

Waterfront Improvements:

The Waterfront Seattle website has many images, links, and plans that may be of interest.


Photos

Final Design:


South Portal:


North Portal:


Bertha, seen before she was put together:


Waterfront Plans







Anthony_JK:
I thought that construction of the Alaskan Way tunnel had been delayed due to cost overruns and the desire of some to simply ditch the tunnel AND the viaduct in favor of an at-grade surface boulevard concept? I'm guessing that the tunnel is still on, then?

Kacie Jane:
That is in fact true. It had been delayed because they took their sweet time coming to a final decision on what and how to build. But that's all several stages in the past now. Construction started, but is stalled because Bertha ran into a pipe she couldn't cut through. Other construction in the area is progressing; for example, the roadway labeled "New S. Atlantic Street overcrossing" recently opened.

jakeroot:

--- Quote from: Kacie Jane on April 22, 2014, 12:09:42 PM ---
--- Quote from: Anthony_JK on April 22, 2014, 02:46:52 AM ---I thought that construction of the Alaskan Way tunnel had been delayed due to cost overruns and the desire of some to simply ditch the tunnel AND the viaduct in favor of an at-grade surface boulevard concept? I'm guessing that the tunnel is still on, then?

--- End quote ---

That is in fact true. It had been delayed because they took their sweet time coming to a final decision on what and how to build. But that's all several stages in the past now. Construction started, but is stalled because Bertha ran into a pipe she couldn't cut through. Other construction in the area is progressing; for example, the roadway labeled "New S. Atlantic Street overcrossing" recently opened.
--- End quote ---

Indeed, everything else is still moving along just fine. But, Anthony, as you mentioned, there has been some pretty severe backlash at WSDOT in the last year because they keep screwing things up. The pontoons were leaking for the new 520 bridge, they want to toll I-90 (fine by me), apparently they get paid too much (I disagree), they are "mis-using funds" as a whole (not helping their case for tolling I-90), and now Bertha is stuck. It's gotten so bad that now, the state senate can't even pass a transportation budget because no one trusts WashDOT to use the funds correctly.

I think we are just doing too many super-projects at once, and these super-projects always have cost-overruns and unforeseen problems, and the people of Seattle, who are well known for their "Seattle Process" (where it takes 10 years to decide a bus stop), can't take it all at once.

Quite a few people indeed want to abandon the project and just build a new viaduct. I don't mind the viaduct, but after seeing what the removal of the Embarcadero freeway did for San Fran, I really want to see that happen in Seattle. I am kind of selfish, but I want to see the downtown thrive.

Also, there's a huge hole under the city which would cost more to fill-up then it would cost to just finish the project.

kkt:
No, the project isn't going to be abandoned.  It's just going to be late.  Some people would like it to be abandoned, but they are the same people who never wanted it to begin with.

The Legislature isn't picking on WashDOT in particular, they haven't been able to get much of anything done on quite a few issues due to a partisan split and unwillingness to do anything except shoot down the other side's ideas.

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