Milepost 31 is an award-winning information center that highlights the people and projects that shaped Pioneer Square, and provides an inside look at the SR 99 Tunnel Project. There, you'll find more than just construction photos and brochures. You’ll find history, artifacts and interactive exhibits designed to broaden your understanding of the land beneath you. You’ll explore the neighborhood’s changing landscape, from earth-moving efforts of the past to the massive tunnel project that will soon move State Route 99 underground and reconnect Pioneer Square to the waterfront.
Location and hours
211 First Ave. S., Seattle
Admission is free.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday (closed on state holidays).
Open until 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month during the Pioneer Square Art Walk.
Milepost 31 will be closed on Thursday, July 4.
Speaker Series: Operating the SR 99 tunneling machine
Bertha, the world’s largest tunneling machine, is currently being assembled in the SR 99 tunnel launch pit near Seattle’s stadiums. Join us for this month’s speaker series to find out next steps as crews test the machine and prepare to begin tunneling. You’ll also learn about some of the technological advances on the SR 99 tunneling machine, including how a 300-foot-long machine steers underground and what happens when the massive steel cutters on the front of the machine need to be changed.
Thursday, June 6
6 to 7 p.m.
Milepost 31, 211 First Avenue S.
Event flier (pdf 816 kb)
Take a self-guided tour (pdf 308 kb) of the SR 99 Tunnel Project's massive work zone. Walk or bike along the paved path west of the construction area, near the stadiums. Watch as crews dig the launch pit for the 300-foot-long boring machine. Displays along the path describe construction activities, machinery at work and the area’s history.
Archaeology and the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program
WSDOT Cultural Resources Lead Kevin Bartoy recently presented (pdf 808 kb) at the Museum of History and Industry’s monthly History Café lecture series. KCTS filmed the presentation and a copy of the video is available on their website.
Visitors to Milepost 31 can browse through four sections:
You are here: Similar to the "you are here" points on maps, this section orients visitors to Milepost 31. It tells the story of the land upon which you are standing from the perspective for several different historical figures.
Moving Land: This section examines how the natural forces of glaciers, earthquakes and volcanoes have transformed Seattle's landscape during the past 20,000 years. Visitors will also learn about our own effects on the land, from the filling of the tidelands in Pioneer Square to the various regrade projects across the city.
Moving People: This section tracks transportation over time, with an emphasis on Pioneer Square. Visitors will see how people-moving has changed - and in some cases stayed the same.
Moving Forward: This section is all about tunneling. Visitors will learn about the history of tunneling technology, tunneling in Seattle and, of course, the SR 99 Tunnel Project. In addition, exhibits show visitors how the project - along with the Elliott Bay Seawall Replacement and Waterfront Seattle - will transform the future of Pioneer Square.
Why the name “Milepost 31”?
Mileposts mark progress. They help you track where you are on your journey, reminding you of the places you’ve passed through on your way to somewhere else.
But what if a milepost is so interesting that it becomes a destination? Located on SR 99 at the western edge of Pioneer Square, Milepost 31 is that kind of place. It marks a spot on the highway, but it also marks the spot where, before mileposts existed, mile-thick glaciers gave way to native civilizations. It’s where Seattle’s first neighborhood saw the rise of the city’s most notorious stretch of highway - the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct - and where crews building the world’s largest diameter bored tunnel to replace the viaduct will first cross into the soils beneath Pioneer Square.
If you have questions about Milepost 31 please call the program hotline at 1-888-AWV-LINE, which is answered by staff between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.