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  • Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge closing March 19-26 for viaduct demolition

    The viaduct demolition contractor Kiewit is working their way north to south at the north end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This week their path takes them to Lenora Street. They will be removing a section of viaduct above the Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge, and as a safety precaution the bridge will be closed for about six days.

    Aerial view of Lenora St ped bridge running under viaduct

    Caption: The Lenora Street pedestrian bridge provides a route between Western Avenue and Alaskan Way. 

    During the closure, a free shuttle will provide rides between the top and bottom of the bridge.

    Shuttle details

    • Hours of operation: 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Arrival frequency: approximately every 20-30 minutes 
    • Shuttle is ADA-accessible; holds 22 passengers
    • Western Avenue stop location: Western Avenue just north of Lenora (east side of street)
    • Waterfront stop location: Alaskan Way just north of Lenora Street (east side of street)

    Other pedestrian detour options during the pedestrian bridge closure are the Bell Street Pedestrian Bridge two blocks to the north, and the Pike Street Hill Climb to the south. The Pike Place Market parking garage between Pine and Pike streets on Western Avenue also has an elevator.

    Map of Belltown showing shuttle route between Alaskan Way and Western Avenue

    Caption: Shuttle route while the Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge is closed. Click for larger version.

    You can follow Kiewit’s progress on removing the viaduct on our interactive map, and by subscribing to our weekly construction email list.

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    Order: 3.7

  • A bite out of the middle: Kiewit begins demolition of double-deck viaduct

    Demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct hits a dramatic milestone this week as the contractor begins removing the first section of the double-deck structure. Until now, the large green and white machines have been munching and hammering on the viaduct’s edges and tucked-away sections. This week, they start chewing on the viaduct’s meaty middle.

    The contractor Kiewit and their subcontractor Ferma have a multi-step schedule for taking down the viaduct that involves crews working at several locations at once. They began in mid-February at three locations: the Columbia Street on-ramp; the western half of the viaduct near Pike Street; and the very north end of the viaduct around the intersection of Western Avenue and Bell Street.

    So far Kiewit has removed 450 feet of the Columbia ramp, about 360 feet of the viaduct near Pike street, and about 650 feet of bridge at the viaduct’s north end. In all, roughly 22 million pounds of concrete and steel has been hammered and munched off the structure. Kiewit trucks the rubble down to Terminal 25, where the rebar is removed and the concrete broken into small pieces for eventual use as fill in the Battery Street Tunnel. A small amount of the concrete is being used as rubble pads in work areas. The time-lapse video below captured the work at Columbia Street:

    Over the weekend, the large muncher machine used at Pike Street was slowly moved down to Columbia Street. Crews will use that machine this week to begin demolishing the viaduct between Columbia Street and Yesler Way. First removing the top deck and then the lower deck, crews will work their way north along the waterfront. Ahead of demolition, Kiewit will fence off the work zone and prepare the area. Behind demolition, crews will clean up and restore the ground to its previous condition.

    Diagram of viaduct showing three stages of work as demolition moves south to north along viaduct

    Caption: Each work zone has three areas: prep, demolish, and restore.

    Along the waterfront, the work zones will narrow Alaskan Way to one lane in each direction. Drivers should expect congestion in those areas, especially during peak commute times. People walking and biking in the area should expect detours around the work zone when trying to go east-west beneath the viaduct. Signs will indicate the closest open side street in either direction. The shared-use sidewalk on the west side of Alaskan Way will remain open, but the path on the east side of the street will be closed when it is part of the work zone.

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    Order: 3.8

  • South Atlantic Street beneath SR 99 reopening soon

    This week crews are pouring concrete on South Atlantic Street in SODO, near its intersection with Colorado Avenue South. The street has not run east-west beneath SR 99 for years, interrupted by highway barrier and the temporary South Atlantic Street off-ramp WSDOT built as part of the SR 99 tunnel project.

    Construction across a wide street with highway overpass in background

    Above: The start of work on South Atlantic Street beneath the SR 99 overpass.

    With the tunnel open and that SR 99 off-ramp gone, crews are able to restore this street (pouring concrete so the road lasts longer under the weight of trucks coming to and from the Port of Seattle). South Atlantic Street will provide a path between Alaskan Way South and First Avenue South, and a new option for drivers going between SR 99 and East Marginal Way. The street does have a railroad crossing, which is why the overpass we opened above SR 99 in January 2014 provides important congestion relief for trucks coming to and from the Port of Seattle's Terminal 46.

    Drivers in the area should expect some road closures this week as crews pour concrete. This work schedule could also change in the event of heavy rain or low temperatures.

    Phase 1: Monday, March 4 – Thursday, March 7

    • Crews have begun pouring concrete on South Atlantic Street near its intersection with Colorado Avenue South.
    • The right-hand lane of the southbound direction of the Atlantic Street overpass ramp is closed.
    • By 7:00 am Thursday morning, crews will open a freight-only lane of eastbound South Atlantic Street beneath the overpass.

    Phase 2: Thursday, March 7 – Sunday, March 10

    • As soon as the eastbound lane is open, crews will fully close the South Atlantic Street overpass ramp.
    • During the day Thursday, crews will grind down pavement, prep the subgrade surface, and pour new concrete in the intersection.
    • Sidewalks and building access will be unaffected, but drivers entering or exiting driveways and garages on Colorado Avenue South should use South Massachusetts Street.
    • Sunday evening, the South Atlantic Street overpass ramp will reopen and the freight-only lane will close.

    Next week, crews will pour concrete for new sidewalk on the north side of South Atlantic Street. Then, on Saturday, March 16, our contractor will work with the Seattle Department of Transportation to install traffic signals and paint the roadway so by Saturday evening, South Atlantic Street can open in both directions beneath SR 99.

    This piece of work is one of the final components of the SR 99 Connections Project, one of 30 projects that together make up the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.

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    Order: 3.9

  • Northbound SR 99 off-ramp near stadiums set to open before Tuesday morning commute

    The end of the holiday weekend brings the start of a new way for drivers and bus riders to get to downtown Seattle from northbound State Route 99.
     
    The new off-ramp near the sports stadiums will open in time for the morning commute Tuesday, Feb. 19.
     
    This new exit ramp leads to a new intersection at South Dearborn Street where drivers have several choices: Go straight to Alaskan Way and the waterfront or turn right to access First Avenue. This video shows what the choices look like.
     
    In addition to being an important link for travelers, engineers and researchers hope this new ramp will provide a link to something else – earthquake-resistant bridges.
     
    This ramp is the first in the world built with flexible metals and bendable concrete designed to sway with a strong earthquake and return to its original shape. Its innovative design has won regional and national recognition.
     
    After the opening of the new off-ramp, some bus routes will be adjusted. Please see King County Metro’s website for additional information.

    Update: We captured the ramp's construction in a time-lapse video:

     

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    Order: 4.0

  • Crunch time: Demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is underway

    Contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., began demolishing the Alaskan Way Viaduct today, Feb. 15. Over the course of approximately six months, they will use large machinery to crunch, munch and cut the structure into pieces to be hauled away by truck. When the viaduct is gone, the City of Seattle will begin work on a new surface street and public open space along the waterfront.

    Demolition started today in two locations: at the Columbia Street on-ramp, and a section of the viaduct near Pike Street. Soon a third crew will begin work at the viaduct’s very north end near the intersection of Western Avenue and Bell Street. Demolition will occur in sections, with crews generally spending no more than 30 days working in each area. This video explains the demolition plan in more detail. A new interactive web tracker will provide weekly work zone progress updates.

    The demolition contract requires Kiewit to protect buildings, streets and utilities as they complete their work. They also must keep businesses open and people moving. Alaskan Way will remain open throughout demolition, though it will be reduced to one lane in each direction in areas directly adjacent to the work zone. Closures of streets that intersect with Alaskan Way will be minimized as well, to keep east-west access between the waterfront and downtown open.

    The waterfront, Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square will all be open for business throughout demolition, and will provide good vantage points for watching this historic transformation unfold. Visitors can take advantage of the free Waterfront Shuttle that runs between the downtown waterfront and three nearby neighborhoods (Seattle Center, Pioneer Square and the Central Business District). The shuttle program, extended through summer 2019, is paid for with WSDOT funding set aside to help neighborhoods most affected by the project. Information about nearby parking is available at downtownseattleparking.com.

    In addition to viaduct demolition, Kiewit’s contract includes work to decommission and seal the Battery Street Tunnel. They will also reconnect John and Thomas streets across Aurora Avenue North, just north of the Battery Street Tunnel. Those streets have been closed to east-west crossings for more than 60 years. This work will involve lane reductions and closures near the new SR 99 tunnel’s north portal.

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    Order: 4.1

  • Update on opening the northbound off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way

    The remarkable snow Seattle received last week and weekend slowed construction of the one remaining SR 99 tunnel ramp not yet open. At the tunnel’s south end, the northbound off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way remains under construction.

    This ramp is a critical link to downtown for drivers and transit coming from the south and west. Without it, there are no exits on northbound SR 99 between Spokane Street and the north end of the tunnel. This ramp was always going to open later than the rest of the tunnel, but the snow delayed some construction activities.

    With a break in the weather, crews are working to get back on track. Barring more bad weather, they hope to complete forming and pouring the barriers on the ramp in the next few days. Sand that was placed on the ramp during the storms will be cleaned up over the weekend in preparation for lane marking. Signing, lane striping, wiring and lighting also must be done before the ramp can open. The photos below show barrier work in progress.

    A section of rebar formed in the shape of a highway barrier

    Above: The rebar and conduit are in place for this section of ramp barrier, but the concrete has not yet been poured.

     

    Crew working on newly poured concrete for a highway barrier

    Above: Crew work on a section of barrier for the new off-ramp to downtown and Alaskan Way.

     

    Wide angle shot of south portal of tunnel with seattle skyline in background

    Above: The blankets at right are covering concrete sitting to cure.

    If the weather cooperates and work goes well, the ramp could open next week – perhaps in time for the Sounders match on Feb. 20 at CenturyLink Field. We’ll continue to provide updates as work progresses. You can watch crews work on the ramp on our construction cameras.

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    Order: 4.2

  • Work on viaduct, Battery Street Tunnel and Aurora Avenue North begins later this week

    Update 2/15/19 9:00 a.m.: The closure of Aurora Avenue North between Harrison St and Denny Way will occur tonight.

    Update 2/13/19 11:50 a.m.: The closure of Aurora Avenue North between Harrison St and Denny Way planned for tonight will be rescheduled for a later date.

    With the SR 99 tunnel open, work can begin on removing SR 99’s old route through downtown Seattle. This big project is broken up into three work areas: removing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, filling and sealing the Battery Street Tunnel, and building North Surface Street connections along Aurora Avenue North.

    The recent snow has made the start of work unpredictable, as icy roads are making it difficult to get equipment to the job site. Below is what to expect from construction this week, although further weather developments, especially icy roads, could change these plans further.

    Want to stay current on this construction as it begins? Sign up for our weekly construction email.

    Viaduct removal: What to expect the rest of this week

    • Overview:
      • The main challenge with starting viaduct demolition is having safe roads for trucks that need to carry machinery to the job site and haul away demolition debris. The new dates below could change if road conditions improve or deteriorate from what current forecasts predict.
    • Columbia Street on-ramp
      • Demolition was previously scheduled to begin today, Feb. 12. Now, due to current weather conditions, crews plan to begin later this week.
      • Crews will continue preparing the site this week in preparation for demolition.
      • Crews will work on the ramp east to west. Fencing will extend west along the structure as demolition progresses.
      • Columbia ramp removal will follow the process outlined on our website.
    • Viaduct between Blanchard and Battery streets
      • Demolition was previously scheduled to begin today, Feb. 12. Now, due to current weather conditions, crews plan to begin demolition later this week.
      • Crews will continue preparing the site this week in preparation for demolition.
      • Crews will remove the viaduct starting at Battery Street and working south. Fencing will extend south along the structure as demolition progresses.
      • Viaduct removal will follow the process outlined on our website.
    • Viaduct between Pike and Virginia streets
      • Demolition was previously scheduled to begin today, Feb. 12. Now, due to current weather conditions, crews plan to begin demolition later this week.
      • Crews will continue preparing the site this week in preparation for demolition..
      • Viaduct removal will follow the process outlined on our website.

     

    Battery Street Tunnel: What to expect the rest of the week

    • Initial work will take place inside the tunnel, as well as staging equipment and trailers at the south end of the tunnel.
    • While crews are working in the tunnel, the ventilation fans will run intermittently from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Keeping the fans on provides fresh air for crews working in the tunnel. This safety measure will be maintained until fall 2019.
    • Crews will place plastic sheeting at the Battery Street Tunnel’s north end. This sheeting helps contain debris generated from the early work occurring inside the tunnel.

     

    North surface streets: What to expect the rest of the week

    • An overnight closure of Aurora Avenue North between Harrison Street and Denny Way had been planned for Feb. 11. This been rescheduled.
    • The closure could occur as early as tomorrow night, or at a later date depending on weather, transit and construction considerations. During the closure, the southbound lane will be closed 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. The northbound lane will close an hour later, at 9 p.m., and will also reopen by 5 a.m.
    • This closure will allow crews to install protective barrier around the center median work zone where the first phase of this project will occur.
    • Visit King County Metro's website for the latest on bus routes during inclement weather.
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    Order: 4.3

  • SR 99 tunnel now open to traffic

    The party was over, but after more than 100,000 people spent the weekend saying goodbye to the viaduct and hello to the new SR 99 tunnel, one very important event remained: the opening of the tunnel to drivers.

    Crews began the tunnel opening sequence at approximately 10:30 p.m. Sunday. The first vehicle rolled through the tunnel's northbound lanes just after 11 p.m. and by 12:15 a.m. Monday, all ramps to and from the tunnel were open to drivers. The one exception is the new northbound off-ramp to South Dearborn Street, near the stadiums, which will take crews another one to two weeks to complete.

    WSDOT, SDOT, Seattle Police and Washington State Patrol coordinated closely to ensure the tunnel was opened safely. Uniformed police officers will remain on hand at some entrances overnight to ensure continued safety.

    Some intersections at the tunnel portals opened Sunday afternoon, including the intersections at South Dearborn Street, and the northbound entrance to SR 99 from Harrison Street. The new connection from Alaskan Way to East Marginal Way South also opened on Sunday. Learn more about the new intersections in this post. You can also watch these videos to better understand how to use the new tunnel.

    Thanks again to everyone who changed their travel habits during the #Realign99 closure. If you found a new way to get around that works well, we encourage you to keep it up. If everyone makes better commuting decisions, all of us will be better off.
     
    Travelers from the south will continue to face congestion until the new Dearborn ramp opens. Until it does, the last exit on northbound SR 99 approaching downtown will be at South Spokane Street. The next exit after that point will be at the north portal, near the Space Needle.  
     
    The tunnel is currently toll free. Tolling could begin as soon as summer 2019. Toll rates will range from $1 to $2.25 with a Good To Go! pass, depending on time of day. You can learn more about how tolling will work at our tolling page.

        

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    Order: 4.4

  • Know before you go: the SR 99 tunnel’s new ramp intersections

    The Feb. 4 opening of the SR 99 tunnel brings big changes to several important intersections at the tunnel’s north and south ends. New intersections can be confusing, so use the renderings below to help familiarize yourself with what you will encounter on the road. You can also preview the intersections via narrated videos.

    North end of the tunnel: Harrison Street and Aurora Ave North

    What’s changing:

    • New northbound SR 99 on-ramp
    • New southbound SR 99 off-ramp
    • Harrison Street open east-west across Aurora Avenue North

    The new tunnel dives underground at Harrison Street, several blocks north of where the now-closed Battery Street Tunnel begins. The new intersection of Harrison Street and Aurora Avenue North is where the northbound on-ramp begins, and the southbound off-ramp ends. Harrison Street  is now also open east-west across Aurora Avenue North.

    Rendering of Harrison and Aurora intersection

    Note: Construction begins this month on the inside lanes of Aurora Avenue North between Denny Way and Harrison Street (yellow zone at bottom). Learn more about how the North Surface Streets project is rebuilding Aurora Avenue North.

    North end of the tunnel: Republican Street and Dexter Avenue North

    What’s changing

    • New northbound SR 99 off-ramp

    The intersection of Republican Street and Dexter Avenue North is where the northbound SR 99 off-ramp ends. New signals will control traffic coming off the highway. From the off-ramp drivers will be able to turn left toward Mercer Street, head straight toward South Lake Union, or turn right to head toward Denny Way. Stay alert for people using the Dexter Avenue bike lanes on both sides of the street.

    Dexter and Republican intersection rendering

    South end of the tunnel: Alaskan Way, South Dearborn Street, and First Avenue South

    What’s changing:

    • New southbound SR 99 on-ramp
    • New northbound SR 99 off-ramp [NOT YET OPEN]
    • New east-west street, South Dearborn Street
    • New primary path between First Avenue South and Alaskan Way
    • Alaskan Way extended farther south

    One of the biggest changes to surface streets is at the tunnel’s south end, just west of CenturyLink field. Alaskan Way no longer ends with a jog under the viaduct onto Railroad Way South. Instead, it continues straight to a new intersection with a new road, South Dearborn Street.

    South Dearborn Street is the new east-west connection between Alaskan Way and First Avenue South. This intersection connects SR 99, Alaskan Way and First Avenue. Alaskan Way continues south from this intersection toward East Marginal Way South. Railroad Way South is currently closed from First Avenue South, and when it reopens it will be a local-access-only road.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The northbound SR 99 off-ramp bridge is still under construction and will open one to two weeks after the tunnel opens.

    Dearborn and Alaskan intersection rendering

    Note: The rendering above does not show the now-closed Alaskan Way Viaduct, which sits in the yellow-highlighted work zone and will be removed section by section over the next six months.

    South end of the tunnel: South Royal Brougham Way and First Avenue South

    What’s changing:

    • New northbound SR 99 on-ramp
    • New southbound SR 99 off-ramp
    • Colorado Avenue South with two-way traffic to South Atlantic Street

    Drivers who previously joined SR 99 northbound from Royal Brougham Way will find striking changes to that intersection. Where once there was a ramp to the viaduct, now there are two ramps to the tunnel. This is where southbound drivers in the tunnel will exit to reach SODO, the stadiums, and I-90 and I-5. This is also where drivers coming from I-90 or the stadiums will enter the tunnel for northbound SR 99.

    Royal Brougham Way and First Ave intersection rendering

    Note: A shared-use path along Colorado Avenue South will be built in a future phase of the project.

    South end of the tunnel: South Atlantic Street and Colorado Avenue South

    What’s changing:

    • New surface-street connection to Alaskan Way South
    • Colorado Avenue South with two-way traffic to Royal Brougham Way South

    The changes around South Atlantic Street are less drastic but still worth knowing. The Atlantic Street overpass over SR 99 is now a complete connection to Alaskan Way (to the north) and East Marginal Way South (to the south). You can now reach both via South Atlantic Street by taking the ramp labeled below.

    Colorado Avenue South (previously called East Frontage Road) is now a two-way street, providing a north and south route between South Atlantic Street and SR 99 on- and off-ramps. A common path from SR 99 southbound to reach I-90 will be to take Colorado Avenue south, then take a left turn onto South Atlantic Street.

    South Atlantic Street and Colorado Ave intersection rendering

    Note: At tunnel opening South Atlantic Street does not pass beneath the SR 99 overpass to Alaskan Way South. That connection will open later in winter/spring 2019.

     

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    Order: 4.5

  • Feb. 1 #Realign99 update: Getting ready to Step Forward

    The big weekend is almost here! Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, approximately 100,000 people will make their way to Step Forward grand opening events in the SR 99 tunnel and on the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
     
    Because of the large crowds, we’re asking attendees to arrive within 15 minutes of their ticketed time. Big crowds usually mean lines, congestion and limited parking – let’s all remember to be patient and considerate of others as we all enjoy this historic event.
     
    People attending on Saturday can take advantage of the West Seattle Water Taxi running on a special event schedule, and shuttles to and from the Pier 2 parking lot. Once downtown, attendees can take the waterfront shuttle and regular bus service to Seattle Center. Attendees from other parts of the region planning their trips to the events should view Metro’s Service Advisories page to see what routes will be affected.
     
    Following the weekend fun will be the traffic event everyone’s been waiting for: In the early hours of Monday, Feb. 4, crews will begin opening the new tunnel, a process that will occur ramp by ramp over the course of several hours. The tunnel will be fully open by the time you hit the road for your morning commute.
     
    If you haven’t yet taken the time to familiarize yourself with the new two-mile-long tunnel, we encourage you to do so now. These videos show you how to get around after the tunnel opens. In addition to providing a direct route from the stadiums to the Space Needle, the tunnel portals have new entrances and exits that will take some getting used to. We’re asking everyone to be safe and stay alert to their surroundings as travelers adjust to new travel patterns. 
     
    An important reminder: Though the tunnel will open to drivers on Monday, the new northbound off-ramp to Alaskan Way at the south portal won’t open for one to two weeks after the tunnel. That’s especially important for travelers approaching downtown from the south. Until that ramp opens, travelers on northbound SR 99 north of Spokane Street won’t have the option to exit before the tunnel. That means the next available exit is at the north portal, near the Space Needle. Also note that buses that used to travel on the viaduct will continue their reroute until this ramp opens. Visit King County Metro for additional information about transit service.
     
    Real-time traffic links:
     
    Transit service links:
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    Order: 4.6