Latest Program News

  • Eight weeks to go until the Realign99 closure and the start of final roadwork to open the new SR 99 tunnel

    When the Alaskan Way Viaduct closes Jan. 11, 2019, three solid weeks of construction begin. Crews will work around the clock to move State Route 99 off the viaduct and into the new, two-mile SR 99 tunnel beneath downtown Seattle. During the Realign99 closure, the longest highway closure in Seattle’s history, both the viaduct and new tunnel will be closed.

    Why is so much work needed? Today the stretches of SR 99 immediately north and south of the tunnel are temporary road, detours built years ago to keep traffic moving during tunnel construction. On Jan. 11, crews will start removing the detours and completing the ramps to align SR 99 with the new tunnel. The work includes unburying tunnel on-and-off ramps completed in 2014 at the tunnel’s south end. This video explains more:

    While the viaduct closes on Jan. 11, 2019, there will be earlier impacts to traffic. On Jan. 4, the southbound off-ramp at South Atlantic Street will close. Then after the tunnel opens, it will take up to two additional weeks to complete the new northbound off-ramp to Alaskan Way and South Dearborn Street. This is the ramp structure that today stands in the middle of the SR 99 detour just south of the viaduct.

    The Realign99 closure will be a very challenging time for everyone traveling to, from or through Seattle. From past experience we know closing SR 99 makes other highways and Seattle streets more congested. We will need everyone’s help to avoid gridlock. Commuters, employers and travelers – start making your plan, consider changing your habits, follow the conversation on Twitter, and make sure you stay well informed once the closure begins.

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  • SR 99 closed southbound this weekend for tunnel opening prep work

    Southbound SR 99 will be closed this weekend while crews pour concrete for the future SR 99 roadway coming out of the SR 99 tunnel. Crews will also continue repairing a dip in the highway south of South Atlantic Street. They will move the protected work zone for that repair work from the right side to the left side of the southbound lanes (from the west to the east side of the roadway), keeping two lanes open past the dip repair area.

    This closure allows the contractor to complete weather-dependent work that would otherwise be done during the big Realign99 closure that begins on January 11, 2019. This weekend’s work is partially weather dependent.

    Closure details

    • When: 9:00 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16 – 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 19
    • What: SR 99 southbound, from the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel to South Spokane Street
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  • Step Forward: Say “hello” to the new tunnel, “goodbye” to the viaduct, and envision the future of the waterfront

    Before the tunnel opens to drivers, WSDOT and the City of Seattle will host a grand opening celebration Feb. 2 – 3, 2019 to mark the completion of the new SR 99 tunnel, the final days of the viaduct, and an improved and reconnected waterfront.

    The family-friendly event begins Saturday morning with a fun run that takes participants through the new tunnel, onto the viaduct, and through the Battery Street Tunnel. After a ribbon cutting to officially open the new tunnel, activities include:

    • A free walk in the new SR 99 tunnel
    • An art festival featuring over 100 local artists, installations, and a community celebration on the viaduct
    • Community festivals near the SR 99 tunnel’s north and south ends, including food trucks, live music, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities

    On Sunday morning, the festivities close with a unique bike ride that gives riders their only opportunity to ride on the upper and lower decks of both the tunnel and viaduct in the same day.

    Make a plan and get your tickets

    The weekend’s activities span from the stadiums to the Space Needle, so we encourage participants to visit the Step Forward website to plan ahead. Visit the website to register for the fun run and bike ride and plan your event experience. WSDOT expects a large turnout, so we encourage you to register for free tickets to explore the tunnel and viaduct on Saturday. Those with free tickets will be given entry priority. 

    We look forward to celebrating this exciting milestone!


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  • Seattle Tunnel Partners reaches first contract milestone

    Close followers of the project know that our website is home to an archive of contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners’ monthly schedule updates. These updates don’t show all the construction that’s happening on the project, but they do give an indication of critical work activities that must be completed to achieve an important contract milestone – “substantial completion” of the tunnel.
    STP reached substantial completion earlier this month. This is the first of three contract milestones in STP’s work on the tunnel. It means the tunnel is far enough along for STP to officially hand the facility over to WSDOT. It doesn’t mean STP’s work is done, but it does mean the tunnel could be technically operated as designed. 
    What comes next is a variety of wrap-up work elements that, once completed, will result in the tunnel reaching the second milestone, known as “physical completion.” Meanwhile, as STP works toward physical completion, WSDOT will continue to train maintenance and operations staff to ensure the tunnel and those responsible for its operation are ready to go in early 2019.
    The final contract milestone, aptly named “final completion,” will be achieved when paperwork and documentation are done. The tunnel will open before this final milestone is reached. You can see the latest schedule update – along with those from previous months – on our schedule page.
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