Latest program news

  • Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge closing March 19-26 for viaduct demolition

    The viaduct demolition contractor Kiewit is working their way north to south at the north end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This week their path takes them to Lenora Street. They will be removing a section of viaduct above the Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge, and as a safety precaution the bridge will be closed for about six days.

    Aerial view of Lenora St ped bridge running under viaduct

    Caption: The Lenora Street pedestrian bridge provides a route between Western Avenue and Alaskan Way. 

    During the closure, a free shuttle will provide rides between the top and bottom of the bridge.

    Shuttle details

    • Hours of operation: 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Arrival frequency: approximately every 20-30 minutes 
    • Shuttle is ADA-accessible; holds 22 passengers
    • Western Avenue stop location: Western Avenue just north of Lenora (east side of street)
    • Waterfront stop location: Alaskan Way just north of Lenora Street (east side of street)

    Other pedestrian detour options during the pedestrian bridge closure are the Bell Street Pedestrian Bridge two blocks to the north, and the Pike Street Hill Climb to the south. The Pike Place Market parking garage between Pine and Pike streets on Western Avenue also has an elevator.

    Map of Belltown showing shuttle route between Alaskan Way and Western Avenue

    Caption: Shuttle route while the Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge is closed. Click for larger version.

    You can follow Kiewit’s progress on removing the viaduct on our interactive map, and by subscribing to our weekly construction email list.

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    Order: 3.7

  • 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

  • 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

  • Update on opening the northbound off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way

    The remarkable snow Seattle received last week and weekend slowed construction of the one remaining SR 99 tunnel ramp not yet open. At the tunnel’s south end, the northbound off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way remains under construction.

    This ramp is a critical link to downtown for drivers and transit coming from the south and west. Without it, there are no exits on northbound SR 99 between Spokane Street and the north end of the tunnel. This ramp was always going to open later than the rest of the tunnel, but the snow delayed some construction activities.

    With a break in the weather, crews are working to get back on track. Barring more bad weather, they hope to complete forming and pouring the barriers on the ramp in the next few days. Sand that was placed on the ramp during the storms will be cleaned up over the weekend in preparation for lane marking. Signing, lane striping, wiring and lighting also must be done before the ramp can open. The photos below show barrier work in progress.

    A section of rebar formed in the shape of a highway barrier

    Above: The rebar and conduit are in place for this section of ramp barrier, but the concrete has not yet been poured.

     

    Crew working on newly poured concrete for a highway barrier

    Above: Crew work on a section of barrier for the new off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way.

     

    Wide angle shot of south portal of tunnel with seattle skyline in background

    Above: The blankets at right are covering concrete sitting to cure.

    If the weather cooperates and work goes well, the ramp could open next week – perhaps in time for the Sounders match on Feb. 20 at CenturyLink Field. We’ll continue to provide updates as work progresses. You can watch crews work on the ramp on our construction cameras.

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    Order: 4.2

  • Work on viaduct, Battery Street Tunnel and Aurora Avenue North begins later this week

    Update 2/15/19 9:00 a.m.: The closure of Aurora Avenue North between Harrison St and Denny Way will occur tonight.

    Update 2/13/19 11:50 a.m.: The closure of Aurora Avenue North between Harrison St and Denny Way planned for tonight will be rescheduled for a later date.

    With the SR 99 tunnel open, work can begin on removing SR 99’s old route through downtown Seattle. This big project is broken up into three work areas: removing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, filling and sealing the Battery Street Tunnel, and building North Surface Street connections along Aurora Avenue North.

    The recent snow has made the start of work unpredictable, as icy roads are making it difficult to get equipment to the job site. Below is what to expect from construction this week, although further weather developments, especially icy roads, could change these plans further.

    Want to stay current on this construction as it begins? Sign up for our weekly construction email.

    Viaduct removal: What to expect the rest of this week

    • Overview:
      • The main challenge with starting viaduct demolition is having safe roads for trucks that need to carry machinery to the job site and haul away demolition debris. The new dates below could change if road conditions improve or deteriorate from what current forecasts predict.
    • Columbia Street on-ramp
      • Demolition was previously scheduled to begin today, Feb. 12. Now, due to current weather conditions, crews plan to begin later this week.
      • Crews will continue preparing the site this week in preparation for demolition.
      • Crews will work on the ramp east to west. Fencing will extend west along the structure as demolition progresses.
      • Columbia ramp removal will follow the process outlined on our website.
    • Viaduct between Blanchard and Battery streets
      • Demolition was previously scheduled to begin today, Feb. 12. Now, due to current weather conditions, crews plan to begin demolition later this week.
      • Crews will continue preparing the site this week in preparation for demolition.
      • Crews will remove the viaduct starting at Battery Street and working south. Fencing will extend south along the structure as demolition progresses.
      • Viaduct removal will follow the process outlined on our website.
    • Viaduct between Pike and Virginia streets
      • Demolition was previously scheduled to begin today, Feb. 12. Now, due to current weather conditions, crews plan to begin demolition later this week.
      • Crews will continue preparing the site this week in preparation for demolition..
      • Viaduct removal will follow the process outlined on our website.

     

    Battery Street Tunnel: What to expect the rest of the week

    • Initial work will take place inside the tunnel, as well as staging equipment and trailers at the south end of the tunnel.
    • While crews are working in the tunnel, the ventilation fans will run intermittently from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Keeping the fans on provides fresh air for crews working in the tunnel. This safety measure will be maintained until fall 2019.
    • Crews will place plastic sheeting at the Battery Street Tunnel’s north end. This sheeting helps contain debris generated from the early work occurring inside the tunnel.

     

    North surface streets: What to expect the rest of the week

    • An overnight closure of Aurora Avenue North between Harrison Street and Denny Way had been planned for Feb. 11. This been rescheduled.
    • The closure could occur as early as tomorrow night, or at a later date depending on weather, transit and construction considerations. During the closure, the southbound lane will be closed 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. The northbound lane will close an hour later, at 9 p.m., and will also reopen by 5 a.m.
    • This closure will allow crews to install protective barrier around the center median work zone where the first phase of this project will occur.
    • Visit King County Metro's website for the latest on bus routes during inclement weather.
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    Order: 4.3

Media requests

If you'd like to schedule an interview with a member of our team, please contact:

Laura Newborn
Media relations, Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program 
206-305-0595
newborl@wsdot.wa.gov