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Author Topic: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel  (Read 192660 times)

jakeroot

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Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« on: April 21, 2014, 06:29:22 PM »

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







« Last Edit: March 31, 2019, 07:30:01 PM by jakeroot »
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Anthony_JK

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #1 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?
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Kacie Jane

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 12:09:42 PM »

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.
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jakeroot

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2014, 12:50:21 PM »

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?

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.

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.
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kkt

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2014, 01:07:57 PM »

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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Bickendan

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2014, 05:24:52 PM »

Partisan politics. Ugh.
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Alps

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2014, 06:34:46 PM »

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.

It's not going to be late, it's going to be on time, instead of a year early. All of us are wondering what Bertha hit, because I haven't seen anything that says they found a culprit.

jakeroot

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2014, 06:47:33 PM »

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.

It's not going to be late, it's going to be on time, instead of a year early. All of us are wondering what Bertha hit, because I haven't seen anything that says they found a culprit.

It was a pipe. That DOT knew about.  :banghead:
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KEK Inc.

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2014, 09:47:40 PM »

They're already gentrifying Downtown Seattle, so whatever.  Obviously the old viaduct is a liability, but I don't think the tunnel will help anything (particularly since it's 2 lanes instead of 3). 
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Bruce

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2014, 02:44:32 PM »

The area that is currently occupied by the viaduct is going to be re-developed into a series of plazas and parks down Alaskan Way, supposedly by 2020. (Link from WaterfrontSeattle.org)

KEK Inc.

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2014, 04:21:24 PM »

I'm more excited with a modern ferry terminal more than an Alaskan Embarcadero.   That part of downtown isn't the part that desperately needs gentrification.  Problem areas are in the Southern-inland end around the Int'l District.  Pioneer Square and Sodo are not neighborhoods I'd advised doing your late night constitutional without some sort of defense. 
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Bruce

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2014, 05:43:44 PM »

I want a modern version of the Waterfront Streetcar to run along the waterfront plaza. From King Street and Chinatown/ID Station to the Seattle Center.

KEK Inc.

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2014, 10:48:14 PM »

I want a modern version of the Waterfront Streetcar to run along the waterfront plaza. From King Street and Chinatown/ID Station to the Seattle Center.

If it links with the SLUT / Fred Hutch-UW future line, then I'm down for streetcars.  I don't support street car services that don't a) support UPASS/Orca or b) isolated.
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kkt

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2014, 12:22:37 AM »

I want a modern version of the Waterfront Streetcar to run along the waterfront plaza. From King Street and Chinatown/ID Station to the Seattle Center.

If it links with the SLUT / Fred Hutch-UW future line, then I'm down for streetcars.  I don't support street car services that don't a) support UPASS/Orca or b) isolated.

Isolated makes maintenance more of a hassle, but isn't a problem for riders. 

The waterfront streetcar was very popular.  The city should never allowed the sculpture garden to take its maintenance barn without providing an alternative in advance.  The mayor and council were all full of promises about how they'd find another way to do it, that have come to nothing.
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Bruce

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2014, 11:52:22 PM »

The pre-cast concrete sections of the tunnel are massive. I took a picture of a pile of them from CenturyLink Field:

jakeroot

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2014, 12:23:59 AM »

That reminds me, remember that tornado last October at Frederickson near Puyallup? These are a couple photos I took of the damage.

The second photo is the interesting one. You can make out near the center of the photo a building with it's roof ripped away. That's the place where the build those concrete walls. I grew up off Canyon Road not too far from the plant, and I was home from university when the tornado hit.


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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2014, 05:00:36 PM »

Wall Street Journal: Seattle Tunnel Project Isn't Boring - City Faces Cost Concerns, Completion Delays as Mammoth Drill Sits Broken; a Tweet From Below

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SEATTLE—For a multibillion-dollar public-works project called the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement, this city brought in a digging machine touted as the largest deployed anywhere: a 7,000-ton behemoth nicknamed "Bertha."

Quote
The megamachine's job was to create a 1.7-mile-long tunnel that would allow the state transit authority to reroute a section of Washington State Road 99 underground to replace a 61-year-old traffic-choked viaduct that authorities say is seismically unsafe and must be replaced.

Quote
But Bertha has been stuck since early December when the tunnel-boring machine hit an 8-inch diameter, ¾-inch thick steel well-casing after only 1,000 feet of drilling, threatening both a delay in the $3.1 billion project's completion and a multimillion-dollar cost increase.

Quote
Now, Bertha's operator and the state transit authority are sparring over the cost of repairs. And the repair work itself is the subject of a lawsuit—with defendants' responses due later this month—from a local watchdog group calling for an additional environmental study.

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2014, 09:19:26 PM »

I don't understand why WSDOT wanted a double-decker tunnel anyway.  If they had just made two parallel tunnels, we wouldn't need a massive, new drilling machine, and it wouldn't be so difficult to get fixed.
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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2014, 01:34:53 AM »

I don't understand why WSDOT wanted a double-decker tunnel anyway.  If they had just made two parallel tunnels, we wouldn't need a massive, new drilling machine, and it wouldn't be so difficult to get fixed.

They apparently wanted "limited disruption". Meanwhile, Sound Transit is boring twin tunnels all over North Seattle with little to no problems.

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2014, 08:41:11 AM »

I note that Google Maps very clearly denotes the proposed route of the new tunnel.

Here's my question:

Google maps shows the tunnel ROW leaving Aurora Ave at Republican Street.  Traffic can either take the new tunnel to bypass Downtown and head for the stadiums or continue along Aurora and head for the Battery Street tunnel.  The Battery Street tunnel leaves the tunnel at 1st Avenue and then heads for the Viaduct.  But the viaduct is about supposed to be removed for this project.  What plans are there for the southern portal of the Battery Street tunnel?
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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2014, 10:11:23 AM »

I note that Google Maps very clearly denotes the proposed route of the new tunnel.

Here's my question:

Google maps shows the tunnel ROW leaving Aurora Ave at Republican Street.  Traffic can either take the new tunnel to bypass Downtown and head for the stadiums or continue along Aurora and head for the Battery Street tunnel.  The Battery Street tunnel leaves the tunnel at 1st Avenue and then heads for the Viaduct.  But the viaduct is about supposed to be removed for this project.  What plans are there for the southern portal of the Battery Street tunnel?
According to WSDOT, the Battery Street tunnel will be closed and filled after the SR 99 tunnel is open.
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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2014, 03:09:43 PM »

Bertha's breakdown is about the only thing worse than those ceiling tiles falling in the Big Dig tunnel in a certain city that sits at the other end of I-90!
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Bickendan

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2014, 06:31:08 PM »

Bertha's breakdown is about the only thing worse than those ceiling tiles falling in the Big Dig tunnel in a certain city that sits at the other end of I-90!
Logically then, the next massive project will be the Skyway's replacement, and Chicago's politics will make the Big Dig and the Little Dig (what are we calling this project?)'s woes seem insignificant.
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kkt

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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2014, 07:51:40 PM »

Bertha's breakdown is about the only thing worse than those ceiling tiles falling in the Big Dig tunnel in a certain city that sits at the other end of I-90!

The ceiling tiles killed some poor slob.  The Alaskan Way Tunnel hasn't (yet).
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Re: Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2014, 12:58:42 PM »

Bertha's breakdown is about the only thing worse than those ceiling tiles falling in the Big Dig tunnel in a certain city that sits at the other end of I-90!
Logically then, the next massive project will be the Skyway's replacement, and Chicago's politics will make the Big Dig and the Little Dig (what are we calling this project?)'s woes seem insignificant.


They already replaced much of the skyway in the first decade of this century.  I remember driving over it well.
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