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Ballard residents attend Viaduct open house

Posted by Geeky Swedes on February 23rd, 2009

More than 100 people attended an open house at Adam’s Elementary Monday evening to learn more about plans to replace the Viaduct with a deep bored tunnel. The open house was organized by representatives from WSDOT, the City of Seattle and King County, who answered plenty of questions.

Phinney Ridge resident Robert Douglas wanted to know how he’d be affected. “I use the viaduct all the time,” he tells us, “So I was kind of curious to see how it was going to impact me, obviously, and my traveling back and forth from here to Sea-Tac, to West Seattle, to other destinations I go to.” WSDOT provided this map explaining how Ballard and other North Seattle commuters will access the tunnel (see larger map in .pdf format).

Gene Hoglund, a Ballard citizen, said he’s concerned about the negative affects of the tunnel. “A lack of access from the tunnel exit to the Ballard industrial area will have a devastating effect on the maritime and fishing industries and family jobs,” he said. “Connections to and from Ballard/Interbay, Magnolia and the cruise ship terminals are not addressed in this design.”

After touring the open house and speaking with representatives on hand, Douglas said he supports the tunnel. “This was the solution that I thought made more sense because it minimized the amount of time that we’re just cut off altogether and helps the general in the long term,” he said. Bob Powers, the Deputy Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation tells us that construction of the bored tunnel is expected to begin in 2011 and be open to drivers in 2015. Added transit service will begin in 2010, and the Spokane Street and Mercer Street projects are slated to be complete by 2012.

Also: City council OK’s funding to rebuild Mercer Street
Plus: WSDOT renderings of the tunnel | Video animation

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