Shortening construction through the magic of contracts

Contracts aren’t the highest-profile part of our work to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. You can’t see them as you drive on SR 99, they aren’t photogenic, and a contracting time-lapse camera would be one of the dullest things on the internet. But the viaduct demolition contract we’re awarding early next year will have a big effect on your experience traveling through downtown Seattle.
Map showing the three elements of viaduct demolition
The new SR 99 tunnel, currently scheduled to open to traffic in early 2019, will make a long stretch of today’s SR 99 highway obsolete (see the map at right). From the stadiums at the south end of downtown to Harrison Street at the tunnel’s north end, the new tunnel bypasses the viaduct, the Battery Street Tunnel, and several blocks of Aurora Avenue North. These three areas were initially conceived of as three separate projects, each a contract to be awarded and overseen.
In our ongoing effort to maximize efficiency, we determined that combining these three projects into one would shave off approximately one year of cumulative construction time. Awarding the work to one contractor also reduces our administrative costs and reduces the risk involved in multiple contractors working in the same space. 
We are currently preparing the request for proposals and will award the work in early 2018 to the contractor whose proposal represents the best value for the state. That contract will entail:
  • Demolishing the Alaskan Way Viaduct (estimated completion: fall 2019).
  • Decommissioning the Battery Street Tunnel (estimated completion: mid-2020).
  • Rebuilding Aurora Avenue North near the SR 99 tunnel’s north portal (estimated completion: mid-2020).
Our Viaduct Demolition page has more information about the elements of this work. We won’t know the means and methods of the work until after we’ve chosen a contractor, but we do know that the timeline for delivering all three elements will be shorter thanks to the humble magic of contracts.