Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement hearing Wednesday

Updated 3:15 p.m.: Major transportation changes are looming on SR 99 as the deep-bored tunnel option to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct moves forward.

Late last month, the Federal Highway Administration, Washington State Department of Transportation and the City of Seattle released its Supplement Draft Environmental Impact Statement (.pdf). The document analyzes the bored tunnel alternative for replacing the viaduct, which is the preferred option. The SDEIS outlines the project’s effects on transportation and the environment.

At the most recent Ballard District Council meeting, Mike Rigsby, the manager of engineering for the project outlined the project.

Work has already started on “the southern mile” of the viaduct replacement, Rigsby said. The $115 million project is to rebuild the southern mile of the viaduct from S. Holgate St. to S. King St.

The deep-bored tunnel project starts at the north end of the south portal (see video below for visual explanation) and although the environmental process will continue until around July of next year, Rigsby says the agencies are moving forward with the deep-bored tunnel option. “We can’t really get going full-scale on the construction here until we’ve completed our environmental process,” he said, “Because of the urgent need and the safety and risk of the viaduct, they’ve decided to go ahead and start the procurement of a design and build contract.”

A drive-through simulation of the proposed deep-bore tunnel.

The objective, Rigsby says, is to get the two-mile tunnel open for traffic between 2015 and 2016. “SR99 will be open at least in two lanes at almost all times,” Rigsby says, “There will be some brief periods when we’ll have to make connections at either end, but generally SR99 will be open in two lanes in both directions at all times.” Traffic estimates for the deep-bored tunnel are 85,000 cars per day, which is down from an average of 110,000 cars who currently use the viaduct. KaDeena Yerkan with the communications team for the project says, “The bored tunnel would serve this through traffic, and estimates show that 85,000 vehicles would use a non-tolled bored tunnel when it opens in 2015. This amount would change if the tunnel is tolled. The remaining viaduct traffic into and out of downtown would use a new Alaskan Way, with a connection to Elliott and Western avenues, and other city streets.”

This coming Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m., there will be a hearing at Ballard High School (1418 NW 65th St) to discuss the entire project and the SDEIS. The meeting will be open-house style with display boards and staff to answer questions. Attendees will be able to leave make comments. (Full disclosure: The Federal Highway Administration, Washington State Department of Transportation and the City of Seattle are sponsors of MyBallard.)

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

16 thoughts to “Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement hearing Wednesday”

  1. So where are the 40k+ cars going to drive that used to use Seneca/Columbia and Western Aveenues? Just add them to the already overcrowded surface streets? What about the residents and commercial traffic from Ballard and Magnolia who used to use the Western on-ramp? Redirect down Leary, Nickerson, Westlake and Mercer Streets? How does the city plan to accommodate that extra traffic? I can’t see paying for this huge project if it provides less access and less utility than what is currently in place. When you embark on a big project such as this, usually you do it to make things better, not worse. But I forget. Politicians are involved.

  2. Well, thank goodness we have such a robust, frequent, reliable, fast, and pleasant public transportation alternative…

    Oh, wait…

  3. Open by 2015?? In Seattle?? I bet people will still be whining about it in 2015. Of course this will be after another 2-3 elections where we decided to build it, then not build it…

    I just keeping hoping we have a late night earthquake that knocks the thing down and actually forces people in this town to do SOMETHING.

  4. didn’t the voters vote 5 X’s on this with the same answer? no tunnel? or was i mislead like the rest of the population and the city government stripped me/us of our voting voices? but of course they did and continue to do so.

  5. Another great decision brought to you by our fearless state leader Christine Gregoire. This tunnel stopped making sense when they decided that it only needed to be two lanes wide. Isn’t it supposed to be an improvement?

  6. How about THIS?

    Get out of your car and take public transit or ride a bike!!

    Or if not, you deserve to be stuck in traffic. The more you whine, the more we laugh at you. Let me guess, you are also fat.

  7. Actually the voting 5X thing was when we voted FOR the monorail, which we now don’t have to use to bypass the clusterf**k that the construction will result in.

    I say just get’r done!

  8. NoSympathy, keep up the good fight and I applaud your lifestyle. Just remember that EVERY time you impose on a friend or associate to give you a ride they are LAUGHING at your hypocrisy. And you do it more often than you realize. Your rant is a great way to live if your life is confined to a 10 mile radius. It always cracks me up when my bike evangelizing friends and those who rail on arrogantly that they don’t own a car, pressure me into picking them up to go somewhere. Or try guilting me into giving them a ride home at the end of an evening. “Can we drive to Dicks first?”. And usually still bragging that they are righteous. PUKE. I remember one acquaintance was condescendingly bragging about how she lives without a car, moving to belltown to be closer to work. She was preaching all of this at a BBQ in Maple Valley. I asked her how she got there today. It went right over her head. But everyone else got it. Turns out she didn’t ride the bus or bicycle. So I am glad that some of you live lives in a rather confined area. But my life extends out. And I am certainly not taking a bus downtown for christmas shopping. The criminals at the bus stops and riding the buses will not have a chance to rob me. I will be going to the malls as much as I despise them. I enjoyed downtown too. And NoSympathy, afyer these rants, if you own a car, then you are at the top of the DB heap.

  9. When did they stop talking about the unstable ground and the damage to the buildings above? Is it wise to bore a tunnel next to a eroding sea wall? Just askin’!!

Leave a Reply