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Tunnel-boring machine replica debuts at Milepost 31 in Seattle

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Date:  Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Contact: KaDeena Yerkan, Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program,206-805-2846, (cell) 206-795-1876 (Seattle)

SEATTLE – The world’s largest-diameter, tunnel-boring machine will arrive in Seattle next year, but you don’t have to wait until then to check it out. A 10-foot-long, motorized model will be on display starting this week.

State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond will unveil the model on Thursday, Aug. 2, at Milepost 31, the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program’s information center in Pioneer Square. The 1/35th-scale model is designed to offer visitors an up-close look at the inner workings of the machine that will dig the State Route 99 tunnel under downtown Seattle.

“This model is an invaluable tool for education,” said Hammond. “It helps show the scale of the project and is a symbol of all the technological innovations that will make it a success.”

The model was loaned to Milepost 31 by the tunnel contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners.

The public is invited to the unveiling ceremony. The event will include an open house and an opportunity to talk with project engineers.

    Unveiling of SR 99 tunnel boring machine model
    6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, (during the First Thursday Art Walk in Pioneer Square)
    Milepost 31, 211 First Ave. S., Seattle

Milepost 31 open five days a week, free admission

If you can’t attend the unveiling, you can check out the model and other cool exhibits at Milepost 31, located at 211 First Ave S., between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free.

Milepost 31 is an award-winning information center that provides an inside look at the SR 99 Tunnel Project, and celebrates the people and projects that shaped Pioneer Square. Since opening in December 2011, it has received thousands of visitors to its artifacts and interactive exhibits that describe the tunnel, the neighborhood’s changing landscape and the role transportation has played in the city’s development.

In its first eight months, the center has already been recognized by national and local organizations for the quality of its historical and cultural information. Milepost 31 received the American Association for State and Local History’s Leadership in History Award, the nation's most prestigious competition for achievement in state and local history. Milepost 31 also received an Award of Project Excellence from the Washington Museum Association and a 2012 John D. Spellman Award from King County for exemplary achievement in historic preservation.

For more information on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, visit


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