Alaskan Way viaduct | KNKX

Alaskan Way viaduct

Rebekah Way / KNKX

The Alaskan Way Viaduct was more than 60 years old when it came down this year. People are lining up to claim a dusty piece of concrete that was once part of the viaduct.

Water is sprayed to keep dust down as a piece of heavy equipment is used to begin work dismantling the Alaskan Way Viaduct, beginning on the southbound Columbia Street onramp, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Demolition of Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct is underway. Crews began tearing down a former on-ramp near First Avenue and Columbia Street on Friday. Another piece near the market began coming down shortly thereafter.

Unlike the almost instantaneous implosion of the Kingdome just a few blocks away 19 years ago, the removal of the old double-decker freeway has to happen in relative slow motion.

Thousands of people walk through Seattle's new tunnel on Saturday, Feb. 2. The tunnel opened to traffic Monday.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle’s new tunnel is finally open, following a weekend of festivities bidding farewell to the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

“Thousands of people have worked very hard for this moment,” spokeswoman Laura Newborn said in an email Monday, “and WSDOT is pleased to announce that it’s here.”

The tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle has been a long time coming. Replacement discussions have been underway since the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, and several options were studied before the Legislature approved funds for a deep-bore tunnel in 2009. Voters approved it two years later.

In this long-exposure photo taken Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, headlights and taillights of Alaskan Way Viaduct traffic lines the highway ahead of an upcoming closure of the roadway, as the city's sports stadiums are seen in the distance, in Seattle. The doubl
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The Alaskan Way Viaduct closes forever Friday, marking the beginning of a three-week disruption that’s been dubbed the Seattle Squeeze — a period of heavy congestion around the region, especially in and out of the Emerald City. After the new tunnel opens in February, demolition of the waterfront structure will begin, eliminating what’s been known for decades as “the working man’s view.”

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Commuters to and from downtown Seattle are bracing for the evening of Jan. 11, when a stretch of Highway 99 from the West Seattle Bridge to the Battery Street Tunnel will close. But transportation officials say drivers also need to look farther ahead to when the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct opens.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The region is bracing for a change in traffic patterns. Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct will be closing permanently on Jan. 11, making way for the new Highway 99 tunnel. The closure is expected to cause issues on both the north and south sides of the city.

Seattle skyline
Ted S. Warren / AP

As Seattle drivers start making plans to deal with the longest major highway closure the Puget Sound region has ever seen, the state Department of Transportation is outlining plans for demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct

Ashley Gross / KNKX

The new year will bring some fresh challenges to anyone who commutes into downtown Seattle as the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project heads into its final stages.

Getting rid of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and shifting traffic to a new State Route 99 tunnel has been in the works for years. Now transportation officials are warning that starting Jan. 11, 2019, SR 99 will close for about three weeks between the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge.

I-123

Once-in-a-generation opportunity or harebrained scheme? Both have been used to describe Initiative 123 on the city of Seattle primary ballot.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The Alaskan Way Viaduct in downtown Seattle has continued to sink, according to the most recent inspection. Washington transportation officials say the structure is still safe to drive on and no additional repairs are needed. 

Pike Place Market

A major addition is coming to the Pike Place Market. The $65 million dollar project includes a pedestrian connection to the waterfront. Monday, the Seattle City Council approved selling $34 million in bonds to help pay for it.

Five workers installing rebar on a concrete wall at north portal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project fell about 25 feet when a wall of rebar gave way.

Seattle Fire spokesman Kyle Moore says two Seattle firefighters walked about a half mile into the tunnel and carried out one of the injured men while the four others walked out after the Thursday afternoon incident.

One of the men who walked out was not injured, while four others were taken to Harborview Medical Center, he said. One of the men suffered a fractured arm and was in stable condition, while the three others were evaluated.

clerk.seattle.gov

Settling ground is affecting the Alaskan Way viaduct, Pioneer Square buildings and underground water pipes, Seattle utilities officials said Monday. Engineers think the sinking is connected to the Highway 99 tunnel project, but it probably has little to do with actual digging.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The safety of the Alaskan Way viaduct will be back on the table Monday when the Seattle City Council will hear from the Washington State Department of Transportation about planning for a short- or long-term closure of the busy highway that runs along Seattle's waterfront. 

Seattle Tunnel Partners

Officials overseeing the replacement of Seattle’s Alaskan Way viaduct are trying to tamp down safety concerns. But under questioning Monday from Seattle City Council members, they had a hard time coming up with an answer for when people should start to worry.

Peterson and Brothers / Museum of History and Industry, Seattle

The plan to dig a shaft 12 stories deep to fix Bertha, the Seattle tunnel boring machine, has been put on hold while archaeologists make sure crews won’t dig through important historical sites. 

On Thursday, workers started boring approximately 60 holes, each about as wide as a grapefruit, and digging as deep as 40 feet down through layers of Seattle's floor, which, at the moment, is also Bertha's ceiling. 

WSDOT

State highway engineers will shut down a stretch of the Alaskan Way viaduct later this month to take a closer look at cracks found on the roadway.

What workers found during a routine inspection of the viaduct on March 1 isn’t that unusual, says Tom Baker, an engineer with the Washington state Department of Transportation.

WSDOT

The Washington state Transportation Department says that, as expected, the contractors digging a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle will repair a seal system on the tunneling machine by digging a shaft in front of it.

WSDOT

The prospect of taking the State Route 99 tunneling machine known as Bertha offline for as much as half a year is not good news for the company operating it. But one Seattle tunneling expert says it could be worse.

“It’s really a problem with the machine itself. I think it’s something that can be repaired,” said the University of Washington’s Joseph Wartman. “And I think in a couple of years when the tunnel is open, people will have forgotten about this.”

Seattle Tunnel Partners

Washington transportation officials and the private contractor operating the tunneling machine known as Bertha disagree on what’s holding up progress on the Highway 99 tunnel project. Neither had definitive answers, but appearing together Tuesday at a news conference, it became clear they’re leaning toward conflicting theories.

WSDOT

The state contractor hasn’t yet decided how to fix the broken seal near Bertha’s bearing, but “either way, this process will take months,” said the state Department of Transportation late Monday.

WSDOT

Remember that big steel pipe — eight inches wide, part of an old well?

The Washington State Department of Transportation never actually accused that pipe of blocking Bertha, but it was definitely a prime suspect.

But on Friday, WSDOT said the pipe isn’t, and never was, the problem.

WSDOT

Seattle's massive tunneling operation is on hold yet again due to ongoing problems with the world's largest boring machine.

After a seven-week stoppage, crews restarted the tunneling machine earlier this week and moved it forward about two feet. Washington state's Department of Transportation said Friday that the machinery showed above-normal temperature readings when that movement occurred.

WSDOT

A Washington Transportation Department spokeswoman says the giant machine digging a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle has advanced two more feet, far enough to allow crews to build the next concrete ring of the tunnel.

Tuesday's progress was the first for the machine in nearly two months, since it stalled Dec. 6 some 60 feet underground.

Senator: Seattle Should Pay For Tunnel Cost Overruns

Jan 9, 2014
WSDOT

A leading Republican in the state Senate says Seattle taxpayers should foot the bill for any potential cost overruns on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project.

The machine digging a tunnel to replace the elevated highway along Seattle's waterfront has been stuck for more than a month, raising concerns that more funds will be needed for that $1.4 billion project.

What if Seattle gets stuck with cost overruns on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project?

That question sparked a lively exchange on KING-TV between the two candidates for mayor of Seattle during their first televised debate.

During the hour long debate sponsored by KING-TV, KIRO-FM and The Seattle Times, Mayor Mike McGinn and Sen. Ed Murray traded jabs on everything from leadership style to police reform.

But their discussion of the tunnel project raised one of the most interesting questions.

WSDOT

The drill known as Bertha is back to eating dirt after a slow start, then a delay, then a delay caused by the delay.

The massive machine boring the Highway 99 tunnel beneath Seattle had been sitting still while two labor unions duked it out over a handful of jobs.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week he’d brokered a deal in the dispute, and said the digging would resume after a few days.

WSDOT

The State Route 99 tunnel boring machine, better known by her nickname “Bertha,” is poised and ready to begin the dig under downtown.  

To get a bird’s eye view, we climb three stories on temporary metal staircases near Pioneer Square. At the top, we’re standing on what remains of the lower deck of the Alaskan Way viaduct. 

Evan Hoover / KPLU

Replacing Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct is going to bring more than dust and noise; it’s also predicted to create a mass exodus of rats and cockroaches in search of quieter places to hide, feed and cause damage.

Pages