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

  • 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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    Order: 7.1

  • 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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    Order: 7.3

  • Go west, young road: Alaskan Way shifts west this weekend

    This weekend Alaskan Way will move west, out from beneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The new alignment will feature two lanes in each direction from King Street to Union Street. Moving the travel lanes west will allow us to keep the street open when viaduct removal work begins in early 2019.

    Alaskan Way will be closed this weekend from 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 to 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 14. During the closure, Western Avenue will be the primary detour route. Access to Colman Dock will be maintained via South Jackson Street (entrance) and Yesler Way and Marion Street (exits).

    This map below shows the new street alignment. Construction and utility work for the rebuilding of Pier 62 will constrain Alaskan Way to one lane in each direction near the Aquarium (from Union Street to Pine Street) until the end of November.

    Map of Alaskan Way along waterfront showing two lanes in each direction

    Click on image to see larger version of map

    The space under the viaduct previously occupied by Alaskan Way’s travel lanes will be restored to hold a northbound business access lane and temporary new parking spaces. These spaces, which will add at least 70 additional parking stalls above the number removed for the switch, are scheduled to be completed by the end of October. Those spaces will be in place until the area is needed for viaduct removal construction work in early 2019.

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    Order: 7.2

  • Emergency response exercise in the tunnel this Thursday

    An emergency response drill this Thursday will bring a new dimension to the ongoing testing of the SR 99 tunnel's many interconnected systems. This full-scale exercise will give the agencies involved in responding to tunnel events or emergencies a chance to practice in the tunnel. 

    The exercise will involve staged crashes, actors playing injured travelers, emergency response crews, and activation of the tunnel's deluge fire suppression system. Most of the activity will take place inside the tunnel, but people near the tunnel's north portal might see vehicles or drill participants. Representatives from WSDOT, SDOT, the Seattle Police and Fire Departments, King County Metro Transit and the federal Transportation Security Administration will be involved.

    The tunnel is set to open in early 2019 after tunnel testing and commissioning is complete and crews build the ramp and roadway connections at both ends of the tunnel. The final burst of work on those ramp and roadway connections will begin with the start of the #realign99 closure, scheduled to begin January 11, 2019.

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    Order: 7.4

  • Details of SR 99 northbound closure this weekend

    We will be closing SR 99 northbound this weekend in order to install sign bridges over the highway and conduct some paving. The closure starts tonight but reopens in phases, so here's what to expect:

    Map of highway closure

    Tonight: SR 99 northbound closes at 9 p.m.

    • Northbound SR 99 closes from South Spokane Street to the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel.
    • Two local streets near the stadiums also close: East Frontage Road South (from South Atlantic Street to South Royal Brougham Way), and South Royal Brougham Way (from First Avenue South to East Frontage Road South).
    • Note: the southbound SR 99 off-ramp to South Atlantic Street remains open throughout the weekend.

    Saturday, 9/22: Part of highway reopens 

    • The local streets (East Frontage Road South and South Royal Brougham Way) reopen by the evening; exact time depends on work progress.
    • The northbound SR 99 on-ramp at South Royal Brougham Way also reopens.
    • SR 99 northbound reopens from South Royal Brougham Way north to the Battery Street Tunnel.
    • Highway from South Spokane Street to the stadiums remains closed.

    Sunday, 9/23: Limited northbound closure remains 

    • SR 99 northbound remains closed from South Spokane Street to South Royal Brougham Way.
    • The northbound SR 99 on-ramp near the stadiums remains open.

    Monday, 9/24: Closure ends at 5 a.m.

    • The rest of northbound SR 99, from South Spokane Street to South Royal Brougham Way, reopens.

    This closure will allow crews to install sign bridges and VMS signs over the highway that will become part of the SR 99 tunnel’s traffic management system. Closing the on-ramp and local streets will allow crews to install drainage and pave the intersection that leads to the on-ramp.

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    Order: 7.5

  • Parking removal along Alaskan Way beginning Sept. 24

    This fall, we are moving Alaskan Way out from beneath the viaduct. This switch will help keep people moving along the waterfront during the #realign99 closure and afterward during viaduct removal. Alaskan Way will run along the waterfront between the piers and the viaduct, with two lanes in each direction.

    Graphic showing the Alaskan Way Traffic Switch
    Graphic showing Alaskan Way configuration after the traffic switch (click the image for larger version). Oct. 10 update: updated map to newer version.

    Next week, crews will begin permanently removing parking spaces in front of the waterfront piers, between Yesler Way and Pike Street. Once removed, parking will be replaced with new traffic and pedestrian striping. Some of this work will be done on weekday nights to reduce impacts to the waterfront during the day. The road will be closed to drivers as crews complete this work. Access will be maintained for charter buses, passenger ferry pick-ups/drop-offs and deliveries. When the striping and traffic signal work is complete, the traffic switch to the new alignment will occur, currently scheduled for mid-October.

    Crews will add angled parking beneath the viaduct as part of this work. Our goal is to install as many spaces as possible between South King and Union streets beneath the viaduct. Striping these spaces may take several weeks after the traffic switch occurs, meaning there will be a period of time when both the new and current parking spaces are not available for use. Once the spaces are in place, the contractor will be allowed to close them as needed to complete their work to remove the viaduct.

    A free Waterfront Shuttle service provides free hop-on, hop-off rides to any of the 11 stops near downtown attractions and along the historic waterfront. The shuttle runs approximately every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. For more information about the shuttle and parking garages along the waterfront, visit DowntownSeattleParking.com.

    Other construction along the waterfront

    As crews continue their work, other waterfront projects are also preparing for the viaduct’s removal. Over the next couple of months, private utility companies will move utilities currently running on and beneath the viaduct. Waterfront visitors and travelers should expect work in various locations between South King and Pike streets, primarily in small areas and for relatively short durations, involving single lane closures and localized parking restrictions. For more information on other projects along the waterfront, visit WaterfrontConstruction.org.

     

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    Order: 7.6

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