Latest Program News

  • A bite out of the middle: Kiewit begins demolition of double-deck viaduct

    Demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct hits a dramatic milestone this week as the contractor begins removing the first section of the double-deck structure. Until now, the large green and white machines have been munching and hammering on the viaduct’s edges and tucked-away sections. This week, they start chewing on the viaduct’s meaty middle.

    The contractor Kiewit and their subcontractor Ferma have a multi-step schedule for taking down the viaduct that involves crews working at several locations at once. They began in mid-February at three locations: the Columbia Street on-ramp; the western half of the viaduct near Pike Street; and the very north end of the viaduct around the intersection of Western Avenue and Bell Street.

    So far Kiewit has removed 450 feet of the Columbia ramp, about 360 feet of the viaduct near Pike street, and about 650 feet of bridge at the viaduct’s north end. In all, roughly 22 million pounds of concrete and steel has been hammered and munched off the structure. Kiewit trucks the rubble down to Terminal 25, where the rebar is removed and the concrete broken into small pieces for eventual use as fill in the Battery Street Tunnel. A small amount of the concrete is being used as rubble pads in work areas. The time-lapse video below captured the work at Columbia Street:

    Over the weekend, the large muncher machine used at Pike Street was slowly moved down to Columbia Street. Crews will use that machine this week to begin demolishing the viaduct between Columbia Street and Yesler Way. First removing the top deck and then the lower deck, crews will work their way north along the waterfront. Ahead of demolition, Kiewit will fence off the work zone and prepare the area. Behind demolition, crews will clean up and restore the ground to its previous condition.

    Diagram of viaduct showing three stages of work as demolition moves south to north along viaduct

    Caption: Each work zone has three areas: prep, demolish, and restore.

    Along the waterfront, the work zones will narrow Alaskan Way to one lane in each direction. Drivers should expect congestion in those areas, especially during peak commute times. People walking and biking in the area should expect detours around the work zone when trying to go east-west beneath the viaduct. Signs will indicate the closest open side street in either direction. The shared-use sidewalk on the west side of Alaskan Way will remain open, but the path on the east side of the street will be closed when it is part of the work zone.

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    Order: 3.8

  • South Atlantic Street beneath SR 99 reopening soon

    This week crews are pouring concrete on South Atlantic Street in SODO, near its intersection with Colorado Avenue South. The street has not run east-west beneath SR 99 for years, interrupted by highway barrier and the temporary South Atlantic Street off-ramp WSDOT built as part of the SR 99 tunnel project.

    Construction across a wide street with highway overpass in background

    Above: The start of work on South Atlantic Street beneath the SR 99 overpass.

    With the tunnel open and that SR 99 off-ramp gone, crews are able to restore this street (pouring concrete so the road lasts longer under the weight of trucks coming to and from the Port of Seattle). South Atlantic Street will provide a path between Alaskan Way South and First Avenue South, and a new option for drivers going between SR 99 and East Marginal Way. The street does have a railroad crossing, which is why the overpass we opened above SR 99 in January 2014 provides important congestion relief for trucks coming to and from the Port of Seattle's Terminal 46.

    Drivers in the area should expect some road closures this week as crews pour concrete. This work schedule could also change in the event of heavy rain or low temperatures.

    Phase 1: Monday, March 4 – Thursday, March 7

    • Crews have begun pouring concrete on South Atlantic Street near its intersection with Colorado Avenue South.
    • The right-hand lane of the southbound direction of the Atlantic Street overpass ramp is closed.
    • By 7:00 am Thursday morning, crews will open a freight-only lane of eastbound South Atlantic Street beneath the overpass.

    Phase 2: Thursday, March 7 – Sunday, March 10

    • As soon as the eastbound lane is open, crews will fully close the South Atlantic Street overpass ramp.
    • During the day Thursday, crews will grind down pavement, prep the subgrade surface, and pour new concrete in the intersection.
    • Sidewalks and building access will be unaffected, but drivers entering or exiting driveways and garages on Colorado Avenue South should use South Massachusetts Street.
    • Sunday evening, the South Atlantic Street overpass ramp will reopen and the freight-only lane will close.

    Next week, crews will pour concrete for new sidewalk on the north side of South Atlantic Street. Then, on Saturday, March 16, our contractor will work with the Seattle Department of Transportation to install traffic signals and paint the roadway so by Saturday evening, South Atlantic Street can open in both directions beneath SR 99.

    This piece of work is one of the final components of the SR 99 Connections Project, one of 30 projects that together make up the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.

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    Order: 3.9

  • Northbound SR 99 off-ramp near stadiums set to open before Tuesday morning commute

    The end of the holiday weekend brings the start of a new way for drivers and bus riders to get to downtown Seattle from northbound State Route 99.
     
    The new off-ramp near the sports stadiums will open in time for the morning commute Tuesday, Feb. 19.
     
    This new exit ramp leads to a new intersection at South Dearborn Street where drivers have several choices: Go straight to Alaskan Way and the waterfront or turn right to access First Avenue. This video shows what the choices look like.
     
    In addition to being an important link for travelers, engineers and researchers hope this new ramp will provide a link to something else – earthquake-resistant bridges.
     
    This ramp is the first in the world built with flexible metals and bendable concrete designed to sway with a strong earthquake and return to its original shape. Its innovative design has won regional and national recognition.
     
    After the opening of the new off-ramp, some bus routes will be adjusted. Please see King County Metro’s website for additional information.

    Update: We captured the ramp's construction in a time-lapse video:

     

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    Order: 4.0

  • Crunch time: Demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is underway

    Contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., began demolishing the Alaskan Way Viaduct today, Feb. 15. Over the course of approximately six months, they will use large machinery to crunch, munch and cut the structure into pieces to be hauled away by truck. When the viaduct is gone, the City of Seattle will begin work on a new surface street and public open space along the waterfront.

    Demolition started today in two locations: at the Columbia Street on-ramp, and a section of the viaduct near Pike Street. Soon a third crew will begin work at the viaduct’s very north end near the intersection of Western Avenue and Bell Street. Demolition will occur in sections, with crews generally spending no more than 30 days working in each area. This video explains the demolition plan in more detail. A new interactive web tracker will provide weekly work zone progress updates.

    The demolition contract requires Kiewit to protect buildings, streets and utilities as they complete their work. They also must keep businesses open and people moving. Alaskan Way will remain open throughout demolition, though it will be reduced to one lane in each direction in areas directly adjacent to the work zone. Closures of streets that intersect with Alaskan Way will be minimized as well, to keep east-west access between the waterfront and downtown open.

    The waterfront, Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square will all be open for business throughout demolition, and will provide good vantage points for watching this historic transformation unfold. Visitors can take advantage of the free Waterfront Shuttle that runs between the downtown waterfront and three nearby neighborhoods (Seattle Center, Pioneer Square and the Central Business District). The shuttle program, extended through summer 2019, is paid for with WSDOT funding set aside to help neighborhoods most affected by the project. Information about nearby parking is available at downtownseattleparking.com.

    In addition to viaduct demolition, Kiewit’s contract includes work to decommission and seal the Battery Street Tunnel. They will also reconnect John and Thomas streets across Aurora Avenue North, just north of the Battery Street Tunnel. Those streets have been closed to east-west crossings for more than 60 years. This work will involve lane reductions and closures near the new SR 99 tunnel’s north portal.

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    Order: 4.1