Contents tagged with home

  • Plan ahead for SR 99/Aurora Avenue North weekend closure Aug. 21-24 near South Lake Union

    Crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will close State Route 99/Aurora Avenue North between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and Valley Street beginning Friday night, Aug. 21 through Monday morning, Aug. 24.

    During the closure, crews will move the northbound and southbound lanes of SR 99 near Harrison Street onto a new structure to the west of the existing highway. Shifting traffic to these new lanes will provide space for ongoing construction of the SR 99 tunnel’s future north portal. SR 99 will remain two lanes in each direction in this area.  

    Stay tuned for more details. 

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  • July 22 project update: Yellow stacks installed at the north portal

    Earlier this month, the work zone to the west of Seattle’s stadiums got a bit brighter when Seattle Tunnel Partners installed four yellow ventilation stacks at the south operations building. This week it’s the north portal’s turn, as STP installs the north operations building’s ventilation stacks.
     
    The four yellow stacks were lifted into place Wednesday at the north portal site, which is located just east of the Gates Foundation. Manufactured in Longview, Wash. with American-made steel, the stacks will be part of the tunnel’s ventilation system. This post from April explains a bit more about the function of the two operations buildings.
     
    The color of the stacks was inspired by WSDOT’s yellow maintenance vehicles, some of which will be stored within the operations buildings. Like all aspects of the design, the color was developed with guidance from the Seattle Design Commission. 
     
    Image of north portal ventilation stacks
     
    Four tunnel ventilation stacks were installed Wednesday at the the tunnel's north portal, near the Space Needle.
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  • July 17 project update: Seattle Tunnel Partners submits new schedule for completing SR 99 Tunnel Project

    This week, Seattle Tunnel Partners began installing a new main bearing on the SR 99 tunneling machine. Installation of the machine’s most critical part comes on the heels of another vital piece of STP’s repair effort: an updated schedule that outlines the path for the machine’s launch beneath downtown and completion of the tunnel project.
     
    The SR 99 tunnel is now scheduled to open to drivers in spring 2018, according to a revised schedule (pdf 156 kb) STP submitted to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Machine repairs are scheduled to wrap up this fall. STP and manufacturer Hitachi Zosen will then perform an extended series of tests to ensure the machine is ready to complete the tunnel drive. 
     
    Tunneling is slated to resume in late November, with the machine emerging at the north end of downtown approximately one year later. The state is not able to verify the contractor’s schedule. 
     
    “The contractor’s schedule has changed, but the contract that governs their work remains the same,” said Todd Trepanier, WSDOT’s Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program administrator. “The state is a paying customer in this transaction, and we’re intent on getting what we contracted for. We will continue to protect taxpayers and hold the contractor responsible for their work as they deliver this vital project.”
     
    Since lifting the front end of the machine from the ground in March, STP has fully assessed the disassembled machine parts and made significant repairs and enhancements (pdf 6.2 Mb). In addition to beginning installation of the main bearing, STP crews have installed portions of the new seal system that will protect the bearing. Modifications include the addition of reinforcing steel, new monitoring systems and upgrades to the soil-conditioning system to prevent clogging.  
     
    “Fully disassembling and assessing the machine was always the key to determining how long the repairs would take,” said Chris Dixon, Seattle Tunnel Partners project manager. “We want to reassemble the machine and resume tunneling as quickly as possible, but we also want to ensure the repairs are done right.”
     
    STP and Hitachi are responsible for the repair effort, including the schedule. While the machine has been under repair, STP has continued essential work at the future tunnel portals, including construction of ramp and highway connections, and the buildings that will house tunnel operations.  
     
    STP crews halted tunneling in December 2013 after the machine overheated. After an investigation, they discovered damage to the seal system and determined it needed to be replaced along with the main bearing. The cause of the damage has not been determined. Responsibility for costs associated with the delay will be determined through the process outlined in the tunnel contract.   
     
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  • Take a virtual tour of SR 99 tunnel construction

    Keeping the public informed about our work to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct is an important part of what we do every day. Our goal is to give you as much access as possible to this amazing project, which is why we regularly post updates, photos and videos of our progress. We even offer walking tours from our information center, Milepost 31, to a viewing platform that overlooks the pit where tunneling began in summer 2013.

    Unfortunately, there’s one frequently received request … more

  • New narrated video explains Bertha repair work

    As reported elsewhere on our website, work to access and repair the SR 99 tunneling machine is coming along. We’ve heard from some people that Seattle Tunnel Partners’ repair plan is hard to picture. Enter STP’s Chris Dixon, who was nice enough to narrate a video that explains what crews are doing to resume tunneling by March 2015. Watch it on YouTube or download a WMV file.

    Other resources 

    Seattle Tunnel Partners repair work plan (pdf 4.8 Mb) … more

  • What we’re doing to keep traffic moving during the four-day SR 99 closure

    We’ve been asking you to do your part to reduce congestion when SR 99 closes for four days starting Friday night, Aug. 22. That includes things like changing your commute habits and choosing an alternate way to get around.

    But what are we, the agencies tasked with keeping traffic moving during this closure, doing to help? Quite a bit, actually. Here’s a roundup of some of the steps we’re taking to help you and your fellow commuters through the closure.

    Washington … more

  • Traffic shift underway on State Route 99 near the stadiums

    Less than three years ago, crews demolished the southern mile of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. When they did, they shifted traffic onto a new section of State Route 99 south of downtown Seattle.

    Much of that new section of SR 99 is permanent, but the piece west of the stadiums is temporary. This curving stretch of road takes drivers around the SR 99 tunnel construction site and connects to the remaining section of the viaduct near South King Street. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s … more

  • Celebrate Bike Month on our new path

    Just in time for Bike Month, we opened a new permanent connection between the on-street bike lanes south of South Atlantic Street and the shared-use path from South King Street. Here’s a map that shows the improvements, which include:

    A dedicated, 14-foot-wide shared-use path with improved paving.

    Improved lighting.

    A separate northbound and southbound path for more efficient navigation.

    Signs warning of vehicles crossing the intersection of … more

  • The SR 99 tunnel contract you’ve never heard of

    You may have noticed more construction along State Route 99, just north of the Battery Street Tunnel. That work is part of the SR 99 Tunnel Project, but it has its own name – the North Access Project. It’s also being built under a completely different contract than the one we have with Seattle Tunnel Partners, the contracting team responsible for most of the tunnel work. A map of major contracts within the program can be found here (pdf 1.1 Mb).

    Our contractor for the North … more

  • SR 99 tunnel’s north portal taking shape near the Space Needle

    A few blocks northeast of the Space Needle, crews are building the north portal of the SR 99 tunnel. It’s a huge piece of the overall tunnel project, but it’s largely invisible to the thousands of people that pass by it every day.

    About the only place you can see the north portal taking shape is from the viewing deck of the Space Needle because most of the construction is underground, inside a pit that’s every bit as impressive as the launch pit where Bertha, the SR 99 … more