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

  • New virtual library will preserve Milepost 31’s exhibits

    Milepost 31, our award-winning information center in Pioneer Square, will be closing this Saturday. During the six years it was open, Milepost 31 welcomed nearly 80,000 visitors and was an important resource for people exploring the Pioneer Square neighborhood.

    Spots remain open for our final viewing platform tours! Looking for a free activity over Thanksgiving weekend? Take a tour on Saturday.

    If you don’t get a chance to visit the center this week, its exhibits on the history of the land that became Pioneer Square will live on beyond the physical venue’s closure. We have created a virtual library featuring 360-degree views of Milepost 31’s displays and videos: www.milepost31.com.

    Screen shot from milepost website showing view of exhibit

    A big thank you to the staff, volunteers, partners and attendees who have helped make Milepost 31 a success.

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  • Two weeks left to take a viewing platform tour on the viaduct

    Our information center in Pioneer Square, Milepost 31, is closing its doors on Saturday, November 25, after a highly successful six-year run.

    One of Milepost 31's roles has been as the starting point for viewing platform tours. These free tours take small groups onto a closed section of the viaduct that overlooks the tunnel's future south portal. The view from that perch has changed substantially over time. We installed a camera and captured a time-lapse video of five years of construction from this unique perspective.

    It's not too late to see this view in person!

    Milepost 31 is offering guided viewing platform tours this week and next. We run tours at noon Tuesday-Saturday, with an additional 3 p.m. tour on Saturday. The center will be closed on the Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving weekend.

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  • Contest: Share your viaduct memories to commemorate Milepost 31

    At the end of November, our Milepost 31 information and tour center in Pioneer Square is closing its doors. We are celebrating the visitor center and the many people who helped make it possible with a final celebration and speaker series on Thursday, Nov. 2.

    Crowd gathered on sidewalk outside Milepost 31

    To commemorate the center, we’re asking you to share your favorite memory or photo of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Participants will be entered in a contest that starts today and runs through Friday, Nov. 10. Five participants will be randomly chosen and invited on a special tour that will go into the new SR 99 tunnel.

    Here is how you can enter the contest:

    1. Visit Milepost 31 and take our trivia challenge. Submitting your answers will give you one entry into the drawing.
    2. On Twitter, share your favorite viaduct memory or photo. Use the hashtag #Byeaduct and tag us (@BerthaDigsSR99). This will give you one entry into the drawing.
    3. Don’t use Twitter? You can email us your photo or viaduct memory to viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov, with the subject line “Viaduct memory.”


    Remember: safety first; do not Tweet us or take a photo while driving!

    We will conduct the drawing on Monday, Nov. 13, and notify winners via email or Twitter direct message, with the tour planned in early December. Winners will be able to bring an additional person on the tour (everyone must be 18 years of age or older).

    For six years, Milepost 31 has told nearly 80,000 visitors the story of the land that became Pioneer Square and the transformative program that is replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Thank you to the visitors from Seattle and around the world who helped make Milepost 31 possible. We appreciate your support over the past six years.

    Full contest rules

    • All submissions must be entered between Thursday, Oct. 26 and Friday, Nov. 10.
    • Twitter submissions must include #Byeaduct and tag the @BerthaDigsSR99 handle.
    • Email submissions must be sent to viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov with the subject line “Viaduct memory.”
    • Trivia sheets must be submitted in person at Milepost 31.
    • Participants can earn a maximum two entries, one in person and one online.
    • Participants may earn one entry by submitting a trivia sheet at Milepost 31. Submitting multiple sheets will not increase your chance of winning.
    • Participants may earn one entry by participating via Twitter or email. Submitting via both Twitter and email, or multiple entries via either method, does not increase your chance of winning.
    • Do not take photos of the viaduct, or anything else, while driving.
    • Winners will be selected randomly from the entire pool of entrants.
    • After the drawing we will contact winners via email or Twitter direct message. Winners have five days to RSVP or they will lose their spot and we will randomly draw a new winner.


    Tour requirements

    • All tour participants must be 18 years or older.
    • No Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program employees, consultants or contractors are eligible.
    • The job site tour is within an active construction zone. All tour participants must be able to climb up and down eight flights of stairs and walk long distances, sometimes over uneven ground.
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  • Fly the SR 99 tunnel – from the Space Needle to the stadiums

    Today we are excited to share a drone's-eye view of two miles of tunnel in two minutes. This video captures the ongoing construction of the interior roadways, safety systems and other elements that will carry and safeguard drivers passing beneath downtown Seattle in the new SR 99 tunnel.

    The drone enters at the tunnel’s north end, near Seattle Center. Crews are building the tunnel’s interior structures starting from the south, so as the drone advances the tunnel becomes more complete. The drone flies along the tunnel's upper deck, which is 85% built. At the tunnel’s south end, the drone passes from the bored section of the tunnel (9,270 feet long and dug by Bertha, the tunneling machine) and into the cut-and-cover section, built in the launch pit where Bertha began her tunnel drive.

    One big tunnel element not seen in this video is the tunnel’s lower deck. In early November, the tunnel contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners plans to begin delivering large, prefabricated roadway panels to build that deck (the future northbound roadway). You can track progress on that and other tunnel elements on our tunnel progress tracker.

    There’s much work still to come in building the tunnel’s interior roadway and completing systems like ventilation, sprinklers and traffic cameras. We’ll continue to share and document crews’ progress building the tunnel on in our Flickr albums and on Twitter

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  • Alaskan Way Viaduct to close Oct. 6-9 for twice-yearly inspection

    Update: The closure has ended and the Alaskan Way Viaduct has reopened in both directions.

    Alert to Seattle drivers

    The Alaskan Way Viaduct will close this weekend, Oct. 6 – 9, for the twice-yearly inspection designed to keep the aging roadway safe for everyday use. Both directions of State Route 99 will close between South Spokane Street and the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel.
     

    Closure details:

    • SR 99 closed between South Spokane Street and the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel.
    • The northbound roadway will close at 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6 and reopen at 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9.
    • The southbound roadway will be closed from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7-8. 
     
    The duration of this semiannual closure is a little different from past inspections. The northbound SR 99 closure starts earlier and lasts longer than typical inspection closures. This will allow the SR 99 tunnel contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners time to complete tunnel-related work.
     
    We conduct these closures every October and March so engineers can closely inspect the elevated portion of SR 99. Drivers through Seattle should plan ahead and be prepared for additional congestion. Drivers can check WSDOT’s travel tools and follow WSDOT Traffic on Twitter for information about traffic in the Puget Sound region.

     

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  • Progress update: Transforming Bertha's launch pit

    If you’re a fan of our construction cams, this summer has been all about the pits.

    Up at the SR 99 tunnel’s north portal, our disassembly pit camera gave viewers a front-row seat for the SR 99 tunneling machine’s remarkable disappearing act. Down at the south portal, cam fans have seen something equally remarkable – the transformation of Bertha’s launch pit into a section of the SR 99 tunnel.

    The timing of these twin transformations is no coincidence. During tunnel mining, the launch pit served as the access point for delivering tunnel ring segments and supplies to the machine. The pit also housed a major piece of the conveyor belt that delivered muck from the machine to barges docked at Terminal 46 on Seattle’s waterfront.

    After tunnel mining concluded in April 2017, contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners began the transformation of Bertha’s launch pit into a section of the SR 99 tunnel. In June, after removing the conveyor belt, crews started constructing this section of the tunnel. Three months later, the transformation from pit to tunnel is nearly complete. This slideshow shows how they did it.

    Putting a lid on it

    The last phase of the launch pit transformation is underway now. Crews are building the top of the tunnel, a 4 1/2-foot-thick slab of reinforced concrete known as the lid. Building the lid makes it possible to build streets on top of the tunnel. In 2018, crews will rebuild part of Alaskan Way South directly atop what once was Bertha’s launch pit. When the tunnel opens, three levels of roadway will move people north and south across what was once the launch pit.

    This graphic shows a cutaway view of the future tunnel just west of the south portal operations building.

    Diagram showing two decks of traffic in the tunnel, with five lanes of traffic above it on the surface.

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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