Contents tagged with home

  • Happy birthday, SR 99 tunnel

    One year ago today, WSDOT opened the State Route 99 tunnel and watched it quickly become a fast, easy way to bypass downtown Seattle traffic. Traveling SR 99 through Seattle is much safer than it was pre-tunnel, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct carried SR 99 through the city. Drivers now travel underneath Seattle inside a tunnel designed to survive strong earthquakes, with state-of-the-art ventilation, fire suppression and intelligent traffic systems.

    Traffic moving in and out of the tunnel with Seattle's nighttime skyline in the background

    The Alaskan Way Viaduct has been demolished in the year since the tunnel opened. Seattle’s central waterfront has transformed, both visually and audibly - it’s hard to describe how much quieter it is to walk along the water today without two decks of highway traffic roaring overhead.

    With the viaduct out of the way, the City of Seattle is building its waterfront of the future. One of the first elements of that project will open later this winter: a new, two-way bus route on Columbia Street to connect thousands of bus commuters between Third Avenue and points south and west of downtown.

    Tunnel usage

    The SR 99 tunnel now averages more than a million trips each month. To no one’s surprise, the busiest travel times are the peak hours – weekday mornings between 6–9 a.m. and weekday afternoon/evenings between 4–7 p.m. Tolling started in November 2019, and 83% of drivers using the tunnel today have a Good To Go! account, which means they pay the lowest toll possible ($2 less than having no pass or account). The tolls help pay back construction bonds and pay to keep the two-mile-long tunnel running safely and smoothly.

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  • Looking back on a year that transformed Seattle forever

    It’s hard to believe that a year ago today, people were driving on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. 
    This year we reached the culmination of two transformative projects: we opened the SR 99 tunnel, and demolished the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Both efforts were years in the dreaming, planning and making, and they have forever altered Seattle’s waterfront and how people travel through downtown Seattle.

    Here are notable milestones from this year of dramatic progress:

    • Jan. 11: We closed SR 99 for three weeks to #realign99 into the new tunnel. Thousands of people changed their commutes and we all worked together to keep people moving through Seattle.
    • Feb. 2-3: More than 110,000 people showed up for one last walk along the viaduct and a trip through the new tunnel. The public festival included Seattle’s largest-ever fun run and the biggest bike ride in Washington.
    • Feb. 4: Seattle’s new SR 99 tunnel opened to traffic on a snowy Monday morning.
    • Feb. 15: The first chunks of viaduct came out along the old Columbia Street on-ramp as demolition began.
    • May: Crews started recycling crushed viaduct concrete to fill the  the old Battery Street Tunnel.
    • September 21: The last piece of double-deck roadway along Seattle’s waterfront came down.
    • Nov. 21: Demolition done! The final piece of viaduct on the steep hill north of Pike Place Market was cut from its foundation and laid to rest.
    We made a video looking back on this remarkable year in Seattle’s history:
    Thank you to everyone who tuned in to our live construction cameras, followed us on Twitter, watched our YouTube videos, or simply paused on the sidewalk as giant machines demolished an iconic Seattle highway. However you engaged with our project this year, from WSDOT and our contractors to you, here’s to an unforgettable 2019. 
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  • Bus lanes added to Seventh Avenue North as new construction phase begins

    Construction on Seventh Avenue North is shifting into a new phase that brings transit lanes to this important north-south street through the South Lake Union neighborhood in Seattle.

    During evening and weekend hours the street now features a second lane in each direction between Harrison Street and Denny Way. The newly added lane is a transit-only lane, which will help transit reliability for the many routes traveling between downtown and SR 99.

    A street with lanes marked with white paint and yellow construction cones showing two lanes northbound

    Above: Seventh Avenue North remains a construction area as crews build curbs and sidewalks.

    These new lanes will be closed 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on many weekdays while construction continues on both sides of the road. During these times the remaining open lane in each direction will operate as a general purpose lane.

    This month crews are focusing on rebuilding the corners of the complicated intersection of Seventh Avenue, Denny Way and Wall Street. People walking and biking through that intersection should expect short detours. The northbound bus stop that had previously been located north of Denny Way has been temporarily moved one block south to Borealis Avenue while the NE corner of the intersection is closed for construction.

    Map showing lane configuration on Seventh Avenue and no crossings at Thomas or John street

    Above: The lane and movement configuration of Seventh Avenue North until early 2020.

    Thomas and John streets remain right-in, right-out streets with crossings of Seventh Avenue North not permitted by car, foot or bike. To cross please head north or south to Harrison Street or Denny Way. The Thomas and John street intersections are scheduled to open sometime in January. For the latest construction updates on this part of our project, sign up for our construction email list.

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  • Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct is now history

    Updated 11/22/19: Late on Thursday we published a video that uses drone footage to capture the dramatic sight of Seattle's waterfront without the viaduct:


    For nearly seven decades, the Alaskan Way Viaduct dominated the downtown Seattle waterfront. Today, tucked out of view of the waterfront it so long divided, the final pieces of the viaduct were quietly plucked from a steep hillside near Pike Place Market.

    Construction crew posing in front of a concrete column lying on the ground decorated with a small Christmas tree

    Above: Kiewit crews pose in front of the final viaduct column, adorned with a topping-off tree.

    Viaduct demolition was an exceptionally challenging project, as the roadway stood perilously close to nearby buildings, live traffic on Alaskan Way, major underground utilities and a critical rail corridor. We kept people and goods moving while the contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, and their demolition subcontractor, Ferma Corp., completed the job with no injuries and no significant damage.

    This historic milestone caps a year of accomplishment that began with opening the new State Route 99 tunnel in February. Although demolition is now complete, Kiewit will continue working into 2020 on filling and sealing the Battery Street Tunnel and rebuilding Seventh Avenue North.

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  • The viaduct is rubble and you can have a piece

    Four columns are all that remain of the hundreds that once supported the Alaskan Way Viaduct. North of Pike Place Market, the contractor Kiewit has been methodically cutting apart the final stretch of viaduct near the Lenora Street pedestrian bridge. This week they will cut and lift the final pieces, dismantle the crane, and begin to demobilize. While slope stabilization and other punch list work remains, for public purposes the viaduct demolition is essentially complete.

    Our final remaining time-lapse construction camera has captured the same perspective of Seattle’s waterfront since February. Here is the view looking south from Bell Street as the viaduct was munched, crunched, cut and picked into rubble.

    Obtain a piece of historic concrete rubble at the Friends of the Waterfront space

    We received many requests for commemorative pieces of viaduct concrete. At long last we have the answer: yes, you can have a piece.

    Small pieces of concrete are available for free at the Waterfront Space at the corner of Western Avenue and Union Street. Friends of Waterfront Seattle runs the space to showcase plans for Seattle’s rebuilt waterfront. Here’s where and how to obtain a piece of viaduct history:

    Looking ahead, construction is underway in the space where the viaduct once stood. The City of Seattle is building the two-way bus lanes on Columbia Street that will provide a connection for transit between Third Avenue and SR 99 south of downtown. South of Marion Street contractor crews are also mobilizing to begin early work on the new Alaskan Way surface street. Learn more about what’s to come by visiting Waterfront Seattle’s website or subscribing to their weekly construction email updates.

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  • The viaduct is being whittled away to nothing as Waterfront Seattle prepares for the next phase of construction

    November update: Waterfront Seattle has begun staging construction equipment along Alaskan Way between South King and Marion streets as the City of Seattle prepares to build Seattle's new waterfront. Visit for more information.

    Most travelers along Seattle’s waterfront won’t be able to spot them but two small slivers of Alaskan Way Viaduct remain standing. Tucked away on the slope above the railroad tracks north of Pike Place Market, they are all that remain of the highway that once dominated Seattle’s central waterfront.

    The biggest piece left

    A horizontal section of viaduct sitting in the middle of a worksite

    The photo above was taken October 23 on Lenora Street just east of the Lenora Street pedestrian bridge. This 200-foot section of deck is all that remains of the old on-ramp that carried vehicles from Elliott Avenue up onto the viaduct’s southbound deck.

    The other remaining structures sit on the steep slope below Victor Steinbrueck Park. This is the area where crews have been working for months to carefully cut and lift the roadway that sits atop and adjacent to the BNSF railroad tracks. One bent and two columns are all that remain, but due to working hour restrictions imposed by the railroad it will take several more weeks to fully remove them.

    Waterfront Seattle construction begins in November

    Removing the viaduct is one of several dramatic transformations in store for Seattle’s central waterfront. The SR 99 tunnel was designed to work in tandem with a rebuilt Alaskan Way surface street constructed in the footprint of the viaduct. Now that the viaduct is gone, work is beginning on that new street.

    Waterfront Seattle plans to start work on Alaskan Way between Marion Street and South King Street in early November. (Construction has already begun on Columbia Street building the future two-way road for connecting buses between Alaskan Way and Third Avenue.) Their work will keep Alaskan Way fully open during peak commute hours. If you live, work or commute along Seattle’s waterfront, we encourage you to get on their mailing list so you know what to expect:

    • Program website:
    • Emails: Sign up for Waterfront Seattle construction emails
    • Text: Text “WFSCN” to 474747 to receive Waterfront construction text updates. Text messages will be sent if there are any changes not captured in their weekly email.
    • Call: 206.499.8040
    • Track construction online:
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  • Out of the shadows: double-deck viaduct demolition complete on Seattle’s waterfront

    It has been more than six decades since Seattle’s downtown waterfront enjoyed a full day without the shadow of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.  The last weekend of summer marked the end of the double-deck structure’s reign along the waterfront between Pike Street and South Dearborn Street, near the stadiums.

    This new video captures the tremendous difficulty of the work and the depth of the transformation along Seattle’s waterfront.

    There is still work ahead. Some streets and crosswalks remain closed as cleanup work continues, along with demolition of the viaduct’s ramps north of Pike Place Market. Follow our weekly demolition tracker and sign up for weekly email updates for the latest road closures and re-openings.


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  • Wall Street closed and Denny Way reduced this weekend for paving

    The North Surface Streets Project continues its street construction work this weekend at the intersection of Denny Way and Seventh Avenue. At 8 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 20, Wall Street will be closed at Denny Way. Southbound vehicles on Seventh Avenue North will have to turn right onto Denny Way. Denny Way will also be narrowed to one lane in each direction between Sixth Avenue North and Dexter Avenue North. These restrictions will end by Monday, Sept. 23 at 5 a.m.

    During the closure crews will pour new concrete roadway on Wall Street as part of our project's rebuilding of the intersection. This is the second of four weekends of paving in this heavily travelled intersection:

    • Sept. 13-16: Paving west side of Denny Way intersection [DONE]
    • Sept. 20-23: Paving Wall Street at Denny Way
    • Sept. 27-30: Paving east side of Denny Way intersection
    • Oct. 4-7: Follow-on paving work


    Map showing Denny Way reduced to one lane in each direction at Wall Street and Wall Street closed

    The rebuild of Seventh Avenue North reached a milestone this week when crews opened the brand-new sidewalk on the east side of the street between Harrison Street and Denny Way. Crews then closed the corresponding sidewalk on the street's west side. We are completing this work in phases to maintain routes for people driving, walking and biking in the area while conducting a total rebuild of three blocks of a major city arterial street.

    When work is complete in mid-2020 this three-block stretch of Seventh Avenue North will feature two lanes in each direction, dedicated bus lanes and new intersections at Thomas and John streets. You can follow construction's progress by signing up for our weekly construction emails.

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  • South Dearborn Street set to reopen for Sept. 18 morning commute

    Demolition crews made quick work removing the section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct above South Dearborn Street, one of the structure's last remaining sections. As a result, the intersection of South Dearborn Street and First Avenue South will reopen Wednesday, Sept. 18 by 6 a.m. - much earlier than initially planned. By tomorrow morning First Avenue South will once again have two lanes in each direction and northbound Railroad Way South will also reopen. This video shows the work that took less than a week to complete.

    What’s next?

    Starting at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning, Alaskan Way will be narrowed to one lane in each direction near Marion Street so demolition teams can take down the one remaining span of viaduct along Seattle’s waterfront. Later this week, crews will stripe a bus-only lane on northbound SR 99 between South Spokane Street and South Dearborn Street. This lane existed during SR 99 tunnel construction and helps ensure reliable trips for King County Metro buses carrying about 30,000 passengers a day into downtown. The bus lane is scheduled to be in place by Sunday, Sept. 22 but the work is weather dependent. King County Metro's northbound buses will remain on temporary reroute until start of service on Sunday, Sept. 22.
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  • Be prepared: Road closures at South Dearborn Street and Denny Way, and an overnight tunnel closure all happening this week

    9/13 update: The southbound detour on Seventh Avenue North has been changed and the map below updated.

    Multiple road closures are coming at the end of this week – here’s a look at what to expect to help you plan your travels.

    Demolition at South Dearborn Street begins this Thursday, Sept. 12

    This Thursday morning South Dearborn Street will close as crews begin demolishing the portion of the viaduct that remains overhead. Northbound King County Metro buses that currently turn onto South Dearborn Street from SR 99 will temporarily reroute. South Dearborn street will reopen by Sept. 22.

    Aerial of Dearborn Street showing section of viaduct to be demolished and road to be closed

    Caption: The two remaining sections of viaduct (in orange) at South Dearborn Street may not look big, but removing them is complex work due to the many underground utilities that criss-cross the area.

    SR 99 tunnel overnight closure this Friday, Sept. 13

    Both directions of the SR 99 tunnel will be closed 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 to 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 for regular maintenance. The tunnel’s northbound direction will close again at 10 p.m. Saturday night and reopen by 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 15.

    Denny Way closed this weekend with detours of Seventh Avenue North

    If weather allows crews will pour new concrete in the intersection of Denny Way and Seventh Avenue North this weekend. The work will close Denny Way between Sixth Avenue and Borealis Avenue from 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 until 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 16. As a result, Wall Street at Denny Way will also be closed, and Southbound Seventh Avenue North will be detoured at Thomas Street.

    Map showing intersection of Seventh Avenue North and Denny Way closed, with pedestrian detour route via Sixth Avenue and Borealis Avenue

    This is part of a series of weekend closures at Denny Way and Seventh Avenue that started in late August and continues into the fall. Please note that this work is weather-dependent and may be subject to change.

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