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  • Getting you ready for the #99closure

    Seattle-area roadways will be a major challenge starting this Friday, April 29, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct closes for approximately two weeks. The closure will give our contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, the time they needs to tunnel beneath the viaduct. It will give drivers a reminder of what its like to live without one of three major north-south highways through Seattle. 
    We put together a series of short videos to help you get ready for the closure. The videos cover a variety of topics ranging from alternative commute methods to tools that will help you stay informed. Theres no easy solution for getting around during the closure, but planning ahead is your best bet for avoiding the worst congestion. 
    We hope the videos will help jumpstart your planning. We also encourage you to share tips and tricks with fellow commuters. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #99closure on social media. 

    Know before you go
    This is your "survival guide" for getting around during the #99closure. Learn about the tools that are available at our closure page. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and consider downloading the WSDOT and SDOT apps. 

    Learning from the 2011 closure
    Does the #99closure feel like Déjà vu? If so, it may be because we closed the viaduct in 2011 for one week as crews tore down the southern mile of the structure. You might also remember the heavy congestion that occurred while the viaduct was closed. Expect more of the same this time around. Why? Since 2011, weve seen tremendous population growth in the area. That means more cars on the road.

    The good news is that transportation infrastructure has improved some since then. The City of Seattle opened a new streetcar line, WSDOT opened the South Atlantic Street Overpass by the stadiums and Sound Transit last month opened University Link


    Adjusting your commute
    Its not too late to adjust the way you commute. Vanpools, biking, taking a ferry and riding the bus are just a handful of options available for those able to do so. Weve teamed up with our partner agencies to help move people during the #99closure:
    City Streets
    • Seattle Police Department will direct traffic at key intersections.
    • Temporary parking restrictions along key routes will facilitate transit and general purpose travel.
    • SDOT is expediting planned intersection markings along East Marginal Way South to assist bicycle and pedestrian routes.
    • Traffic flow and temporary parking changes will help get vehicles on and off Aurora at Denny Way, Wall Street and Battery Street.
    • SDOT is restricting lane closure requests by third parties on city streets.
    • I-5 express lanes will remain open in the northbound direction overnight.
    • Southbound I-5 HOV lane between Mercer Street and Corson Avenue will be "open to all" during the closure.


    Stay plugged in
    Cant avoid driving during the #99closure? Make sure to plan ahead before hitting the streets. Here are some tools you can use to make your commute as painless as possible.
    Avoiding traffic
    Peak commute times will likely be longer than usual during the #99closure. We expect congestion to start earlier and end later in the day. For those who can, nows a great time to consider working from home, taking a vacation or changing your work hours. Many employers allow it, and the earlier you ask the better. Itll save you time, plus fewer cars on the road is better for everyone. 
    We understand the major inconveniences caused by closing a portion of SR 99. Like you, we're looking forward to completing this part of the project so the viaduct can reopen and the tunnel team can continue on its way beneath downtown. Until then, thanks for your patience and assistance in helping your fellow travelers through the closure.


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  • April 15 project update: Hedges named new program administrator

    Following an extensive nationwide search, the Washington State Department of Transportation has selected Joseph Hedges to be the next administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.
    Hedges has 30 years of experience in program management, large-scale construction and engineering design in both the public and private sectors. That includes extensive experience with complex and high-profile projects as well as design-build contracts like the one WSDOT is using to administer the SR 99 Tunnel Project. Hedges has led large quality assurance and quality control programs, and has developed integrated risk management programs that include quality, safety and environmental protection. He is also accustomed to working on controversial projects, including overseeing the disposal design of the nation’s oldest nuclear inventory.
    He most recently served as executive vice president and director of operations for Coastal Environmental Group, a New York firm specializing in construction, environmental remediation, energy efficiency and disaster response. Prior to that Hedges was the chief engineer for Pro2Serve, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where he led a multidisciplinary team of more than 150 engineers and designers. Other career highlights include serving as assistant chief of staff overseeing $1.2 billion of complex military construction projects as a Navy officer in Iraq, and managing disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy. 
    “The SR 99 tunnel will transform Seattle’s waterfront and the corridor, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a historic project,” Hedges said. “I look forward to joining the outstanding people at the Washington State Department of Transportation in their ongoing work to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.”
    In joining the viaduct program, Hedges takes over one of the largest construction efforts in state history. The $3.1 billion program includes more than 30 projects, among them the SR 99 tunnel that is currently under construction beneath Seattle.
    Hedges will join the program in late April where he will initially work alongside current Administrator Todd Trepanier. Trepanier, who lives in Yakima and assumed leadership of the viaduct program in summer 2013, was named administrator of WSDOT’s South Central Region last summer. He is expected to transition to that role later this spring.
    Joseph Hedges
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  • Mark your calendars: Alaskan Way Viaduct closes for approximately two weeks starting April 29

    Updated April 26 to include closure times

    Drivers and transit users, pay heed: there are 14 days to get ready for a closure of the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct through downtown Seattle. Starting Friday, April 29, the Washington State Department of Transportation will close the viaduct between South Spokane Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel.
    The closure will beging at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, April 29. Crews will begin closing on-ramps to the viaduct at 10 p.m. on Thursday, April 28.
    Roughly 90,000 vehicles use the viaduct each day. Because the structure is one of three major north/south highways in the greater Seattle area, WSDOT expects this closure to have a significant effect on the region’s commute. 
    “When we closed the viaduct for nine days in 2011, we saw significant congestion on Seattle city streets and nearby highways,” said David Sowers, deputy administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. “We’ll do everything we can to ease congestion, but unfortunately there’s no way to close a major highway without disrupting traffic.”
    WSDOT, the Seattle Department of Transportation, King County, the Port of Seattle and other agencies around Puget Sound have joined forces to help drivers and commuters plan for the closure and change their normal routines. A website dedicated to the closure – – lists resources and ideas on ways to adjust commutes and work schedules. 
    “We understand this closure will be a major inconvenience for many drivers, but we need their help to keep traffic moving,” said Sowers.  “We will all get through this together if everyone starts the planning process now and adjusts their commutes.” 
    WSDOT is working with partner agencies to provide standby buses, more real-time traffic monitoring, police officers at key intersections to keep traffic moving, additional water taxi capacity, additional response vehicles to clear accidents quickly and more.   
    Some options for commuters to consider
    • New ways to commute: The recently opened Sound Transit University Link Extension can take commuters from the University District to downtown in eight minutes. In addition, Seattle’s new First Hill Streetcar can carry more commuters to downtown. 
    • Alternatives to driving: Take the bus with King County Metro. Share a ride in a carpool, vanpool or van share. Explore other transit options using the Puget Sound Trip Planner. Remember that while taking transit is a great alternative to driving, buses are expected to be crowded during the closure.
    • Take the water taxi: King County Water Taxi is adding extra trips to and from Vashon Island to Colman Dock. There will be additional parking in West Seattle for the water taxi’s new, larger-capacity boat.
    • Work from home: Many employers offer options to work from home. Even teleworking one day a week will help ease congestion. 
    • Adjust the work schedule: If possible, adjusting a work schedule can help avoid the longer commutes. Rush hours will start earlier and end later than normal. Use WSDOT's travel tools or SDOT’s traveler information page to plan your trips. 
    • Consider biking or walking for the last part of a trip into downtown to avoid the heaviest congestion.
    Closing the viaduct during tunneling will enable better monitoring of the structure and allow for quick repairs if any ground movement from tunneling should occur.
    In addition to strengthening measures taken by WSDOT over the years, the SR 99 Tunnel contract also directed Seattle Tunnel Partners to protect the viaduct during tunneling. The video below shows how the viaduct has been strengthened and protected.
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  • The choreography of a concrete pour

    This week, at the south entrance to the bored tunnel, Seattle Tunnel Partners is pouring concrete for a section of the future southbound highway. On one hand, the pouring of concrete (also known as a "concrete placement”) is nothing extraordinary – it’s a common occurrence on a project that will use enough concrete to build nine football stadiums. But their frequency belies the complex choreography that goes into executing each pour successfully. Since concrete plays … more

  • 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