• New photo feature: Before and After

    We do our best to tell you about the progress we’re making as we work to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. But the best way to appreciate it is to see it in photographs.

    For example, it wasn’t too long ago that the viaduct was nearly twice as long as it is today. Then, in 2011, crews demolished the southern mile of the double-deck highway, replacing it with a new side-by-side section of SR 99 near the stadiums. Also new to the neighborhood is the South Atlantic Street overpass, which opened earlier this year. The new overpass dramatically shortens trips between the freeways and the Port of Seattle’s busiest freight terminal by allowing trucks and other traffic to bypass train blockages on South Atlantic Street. These images show the transformation.

    To help you see more of the progress we’re making, we’ve launched a new photo set on Flickr. The tunneling machine may not be moving forward at the moment, but other work is. And it’s a striking story in photos. Let us show you.

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  • Overnight on-ramp and lane closure Monday on SR 99/Aurora Avenue North

    The on-ramp from Denny Way to northbound State Route 99/Aurora Avenue North will close on Monday, April 21, and Tuesday, April 22, from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. Also during those hours, the right northbound lane of Aurora Avenue North will be closed between the Battery Street Tunnel and Valley Street.

    The closures will allow workers to improve street lighting along Aurora Avenue North. The work is part of the SR 99 tunnel’s north access project, which is building the connections between city streets and the future north portal of the SR 99 tunnel.

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  • April 3 update: Setting the stage for Bertha’s repairs

    Drivers on SR 99 in Seattle will soon see a noise-blocking wall rise out of the ground near the spot where crews will dig a pit to reach and repair Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine. The double-plywood wall, which will be as tall as the lower deck of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, is designed to shield neighbors from construction noise associated with the repairs. It will stretch along the west side of the viaduct between South Jackson and South Main streets. Construction of the wall should take about two weeks.

    Our contractor for the tunnel project, Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), is still finalizing their repair plan for the machine. What we know so far is that crews will dig a 120-foot-deep pit in front of the machine, which is located about 60 feet below the surface between Jackson and Main. The machine will then tunnel forward into the pit so crews can partially disassemble it and make repairs to the seal system and main bearing. These conceptual drawings illustrate the basic idea.

    Because this is a design-build contract, STP is responsible for developing and implementing the plan to fix the machine and resume tunneling. Schedule and budget impacts of the tunneling stoppage, which began in December 2013, won’t be known until after the plan has been finalized. The contract currently requires STP to open the tunnel to drivers by Jan. 2, 2016.

    Previous updates 

    March 13, 2014 update - Seattle Tunnel Partners submits repair plan, archaeological surveys underway

    Feb. 28, 2014 update - A week in review: Bertha repair plan, ERP’s 2014 report and a viaduct weekend closure reminder

    Feb. 27, 2014 update - How is an early or late tunnel opening addressed in the design-build contract?

    Feb. 25, 2014 update - Ground settlement near the viaduct is safe, expected

    Feb. 21, 2014 update – Seattle Tunnel Partners will dig access shaft to reach tunneling machine

    Click here to see a full archive of progress updates

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Program Spotlight

  • SR 99 tunnel’s north portal taking shape near the Space Needle

    A few blocks northeast of the Space Needle, crews are building the north portal of the SR 99 tunnel. It’s a huge piece of the overall tunnel project, but it’s largely invisible to the thousands of people that pass by it every day.

    About the only place you can see the north portal taking shape is from the viewing deck of the Space Needle because most of the construction is underground, inside a pit that’s every bit as impressive as the launch pit where Bertha, the SR 99 … more