Contents tagged with SR 99 tunnel

  • + Was any part of the tunneling machine saved for posterity or public viewing?

    The tunneling machine was owned by the original manufacturer, Hitachi Zosen, and the decision on what to do with the machine was theirs to make. Hitachi Zosen worked with The Port of Seattle and the Museum of History and Industry to preserve several pieces of the machine. The Port of Seattle received pieces of the cutterhead, and MOHAI received cutting tools and the machine's control panel. Most of the machine was recycled or preserved for use in other machines.


  • + How many lanes will the tunnel have?

    Each direction of the tunnel will have two 11-foot travel lanes with an eight-foot safety shoulder and a two-foot shoulder. These lanes will ensure enough space for all vehicles and legal size trucks.


  • + Who will pay for the cost associated with the tunneling machine stoppage?

    In December 2013, Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) stopped tunneling approximately 1,000 feet into the tunnel drive after measuring increased temperatures in the tunneling machine. While investigating the cause of the high temperatures, STP discovered damage to the machine’s seal system and contamination within the main bearing. STP and manufacturer Hitachi Zosen completed repairs to the machine in December 2015.

    In 2014, Seattle Tunnel Partners requested $125 million in additional compensation related to this stoppage. WSDOT denied that request after determining it had no contractual merit. The process for resolving disputes within the tunnel contract is prescriptive. It requires multiple steps by both parties. Should Seattle Tunnel Partners continue to pursue entitlement related to the stoppage, it will take time to resolve. Ultimately, the responsibility for costs associated with the delay will be determined through the project's design-build contract. 


  • + How much does the SR 99 Tunnel Project cost?

    The SR 99 Tunnel Project is estimated to cost $2 billion. The $2 billion cost includes Seattle Tunnel Partners contract with WSDOT for $1.5 billion as well as other projects that will connect the SR 99 tunnel with a mile-long stretch of new highway near Seattle’s stadiums at the south end of the tunnel and Aurora Avenue North at the north end of the tunnel. Additionally, new ramps and connections to city streets will be built.


  • + When will the SR 99 tunnel open to drivers?

    The tunnel is scheduled to open to drivers in early 2019. Before then, the tunnel's safety systems must be tested and commissioned, and SR 99 must be realigned from running on the Alaskan Way Viaduct to running through the tunnel. The highway will be closed for approximately three weeks in order to finish this realignment by completing the tunnel's eight on- and off-ramps.


  • + Will the SR 99 tunnel be tolled?

    The 2012 Legislature directed WSDOT to collect tolls in the SR 99 tunnel in order to fund ongoing tunnel maintenance and raise $200 million to repay construction bonds used to build the tunnel. Tolls could also pay for future tunnel operations and maintenance costs, similar to other toll facilities in Washington. Tolling of the SR 99 tunnel is anticipated to begin after the tunnel opens to drivers

    The Washington State Transportation Commission is responsible for setting toll rates and is in the process of analyzing potential toll rates. They will oversee the toll rate-setting process in 2018.


  • + Will the tunnel have mid-town exits?

    The SR 99 tunnel will not have mid-town exits. The tunnel and a new Alaskan Way street are designed to work together to replace the functionality of the viaduct. The tunnel will have the capacity to accommodate trips through downtown, while the rest of today’s viaduct users will access downtown using ramps at either end of the tunnel. Along the waterfront, a new Alaskan Way street will provide several east-west connections to downtown, replacing the function of today’s midtown viaduct on-ramp and off-ramp.


  • + How will northwest Seattle residents get to SR 99?

    Residents from northwest Seattle will have two options to get to or through downtown Seattle. They could travel along Elliott Avenue, as they do today, and drive down a new bridge over the railroad tracks near Pike Place Market to a new Alaskan Way street along the waterfront. Alaskan Way will connect directly to SR 99 near South Royal Brougham Way.

    If northwest Seattle residents want to use the SR 99 tunnel, they could take the new two-way Mercer Street to Sixth Avenue North and enter the tunnel at Republican Street. They could also use any of the existing connections to Aurora Avenue north of Mercer Street. Our Future Access Page shows example routes.