Press

Press Room

Below are resources for members of the media seeking information or interviews about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.

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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  • New parking and shuttle options along Alaskan Way

    There are plenty of new parking spaces along the waterfront. WSDOT’s contractor Kiewit is almost finished creating close to 250 parking spaces beneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

    Street beneath the viaduct with new parking stripes and traffic cones

    You can reach these spaces via the northbound local-access lane beneath the viaduct. These 4-hour, back-in angle parking spaces will be in place until the contractor begins preparation for removing the viaduct in early 2019. Our Alaskan Way page contains a map of the new street alignment.

    Do you know about the free waterfront shuttle?
    This shuttle van offers free rides 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 impacted by the project.

    What’s ahead for drivers
    The #realign99 highway closure is approaching! We need to close the highway for approximately three weeks in order to complete the ramps connecting the tunnel to SR 99 and local streets. This will be the longest major highway closure the Puget Sound region has ever seen – start making your plan for getting around.

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  • One more (inspection) for the road: SR 99 closed this weekend for viaduct inspection

    10/17 UPDATE: This weekend's northbound closure has been shortened. Northbound SR 99 will close Saturday, Oct. 20 at 6 a.m. and reopen Saturday afternoon by 5 p.m. The southbound closure remains unchanged.

    This weekend, Oct. 19-22, brings the final scheduled inspection closure of the State Route 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct before the new SR 99 tunnel opens early next year. Both northbound and southbound SR 99 will be closed, including the Battery Street Tunnel.

    Closure Details

    • SR 99 closes southbound at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19 and reopens by 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 22. The closure is from the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel to South Spokane Street.
    • SR 99 northbound closes at 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 and reopens by 5 p.m. the same day. This closure is from the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel to South Spokane Street.
    • In addition to a final scheduled inspection, crews will be pouring concrete for the future highway at the SR 99 tunnel’s south portal.

    Since 2001 WSDOT bridge inspectors have been closing the viaduct twice a year to inspect the structure. The 2001 Nisqually earthquake damaged the viaduct, prompting repairs and strengthening, and instigating a rigorous inspection program to make sure the structure remains safe for driving. This weekend will be the 33rd inspection since 2001.

    The viaduct is scheduled to permanently close on Jan. 11th 2019, marking the start of three weeks of intensive roadwork to #realign99 into the new tunnel. WSDOT urges all drivers to make a plan for their commute during the closure, as it will be the longest major highway closure ever in the Seattle area.

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  • Driver alert: SR 99 closed southbound Oct. 12-15

    10/12 UPDATE: During this weekend’s closure contractor crews will place barrier and barrels on southbound SR 99 just south of the S. Atlantic St exit. This will create a safe work space on the right shoulder (west side) of the highway so crews can pour asphalt and concrete to fix a dip in the highway, and keep it protected while the concrete cures. Later this fall they will move the work zone to the left shoulder (east side) in order to repair the other half of the southbound roadway. These work zones will keep southbound SR 99 to two lanes until approximately S. Holgate Street, where the third lane will open. The southbound dip repair should be complete this fall, weather permitting.

    This weekend Seattle drivers should plan their routes ahead of time as the two main highways through Seattle will have opposite-direction closures. SR 99 will be closed southbound between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and South Spokane Street, while I-5 will have northbound lane reductions as part of the Revive I-5 project.

    Closing southbound SR 99 will allow contractor crews to take advantage of good weather to pour concrete near the South Atlantic Street off-ramp. This area, today occupied by the SR 99 detour through the tunnel work zone, will become the merge of southbound SR 99 and the new southbound on-ramp. This work is part of the SR 99 Connections Project, which is completing the eight ramps that will connect SR 99 and the new tunnel to local streets.

    SR 99 closure details:

    • SR 99 southbound closed from south end of Battery Street Tunnel to South Spokane Street
    • Closure begins 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12
    • Closure ends 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 15


    I-5 lane reduction details:

    • Northbound I-5 will be reduced to two lanes between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Olive Way
    • Lane reductions begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12
    • Lane reductions end 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 15.
    • More details about Revive I-5

    Don't forget: Alaskan Way along the waterfront will be closed Saturday night as crews switch travel lanes west.

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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 
206-805-2871
newborl@wsdot.wa.gov