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  • Filling the Battery Street Tunnel from the surface begins next week

    The decommissioning of the Battery Street Tunnel enters a new phase next week, when the contractor, Kiewit, begins to fill the tunnel from the surface of Battery Street.

    Crews have already cleaned the tunnel of decades’ worth of automobile exhaust and removed the tunnel’s mechanical and electrical systems. They will continue to install sewer lines and conduct other utility work. But starting as soon as next week, the contractor will begin trucking in concrete rubble from the viaduct demolition and sending it into the tunnel using funnels on Battery Street. Crews removed steel rebar from the rubble and crushed the concrete into baseball-sized pieces. 

    Inside the Battery Street Tunnel, with a flat-topped pile of gravel on the left and a yellow tube descending from the ceiling at right

    Caption: The ledge at left is fill material already brought in by truck and compacted to support a new sewer line that will be placed on top. The yellow chute at right is part of the tunnel ventilation system to keep fresh air circulating for workers.

    Inside the tunnel, crews will compact the fill using a vibratory roller. The work will last at least three months as crews fill up to about seven feet from the top of the tunnel.

    Effects of construction

    One lane or sidewalk at a time will be closed on Battery Street between First Avenue and Sixth Avenue, depending on where crews are filling on a given day. The compaction happening inside the tunnel causes vibrations that may be felt on the surface and in adjacent buildings.

    Details of the work and what to expect in May and June:

    • Battery Street reduced to one lane at various locations, 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Friday.
    • Trucks dumping fill material through a specialized funnel on Battery Street, 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Friday.
    • Vibration from compaction work inside the tunnel 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.
    • Funnels and other construction equipment stored on Battery Street when not in use.

    People living, working or traveling near the work may see and feel increased noise, dust and vibration during the work hours (weekdays 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.). The filling operation ends at 3 p.m. to keep Battery Street fully open during the evening commute.

    A truck carrying a load of crushed concrete drives through the tunnel

    Caption: Side-dumping trucks like the one above will deposit fill into funnels on Battery Street.

    The Battery Street Tunnel, like the Alaskan Way Viaduct, is seismically vulnerable. Decommissioning it improves surface mobility by allowing three blocks of Seventh Avenue North (formerly Aurora Avenue North) to be rebuilt into a two-way surface street with four-way intersections and bus lanes. For a weekly email update on Battery Street Tunnel construction progress, join our email list.

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    Order: 3.1

  • Timelapse video: taking down one viaduct span

    If you live, work, shop or travel along Seattle's waterfront, chances are you've stopped to watch large machinery doing downright rude things to the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Contractor Kiewit began removing the viaduct in February, producing dramatic changes along the waterfront: 

    A stretch of the viaduct reduced to rubble with construction machinery atop the rubble in the middle

    Above: Central waterfront demolition as of April 6, 2019

    Demolition happens in a specific sequence, with the roadway deck being punched out first, then the structure's girders and columns being munched into rubble. The rubble on the ground is crunched and sorted, and then hauled away by truck. We captured a timelapse of this process from start to finish: one span being demolished over the course of about a week. 

    Want to watch the process in person? Demolition will continue along Alaskan Way all spring, with active demolition typically occuring 7 a.m. - 5  p.m. on weekdays, with occasional weekend work. You can also follow the progress online via our Twitter feed, SDOT's construction cameras along Alaskan Way, our Flickr photo set, and our own construction cameras which will soon capture the work as it moves north.

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    Order: 3.2

  • Traffic changes coming this Saturday to Seventh Avenue North at Denny Way

    The viaduct isn’t the only part of SR 99’s old downtown route that’s being methodically erased from Seattle’s landscape. Near the intersection of Denny Way and newly renamed Seventh Avenue North (formerly Aurora Avenue North) in South Lake Union, contractor Kiewit is filling in the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel.

    This Friday night, between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., crews will expand their work zone near this intersection (Google Streetview for reference). Expect lane reductions and closed sidewalks overnight while crews reconfigure traffic lights and set up cones in the intersection of Denny Way and Seventh Avenue North.

    Come Saturday morning, southbound Seventh Avenue North will be narrowed down to one lane between John Street and Denny Way. Southbound drivers approaching Denny Way will no longer be able to turn left onto Denny or Seventh Avenue; your options will be straight onto Wall Street or a right turn onto westbound Denny Way.

    This will be a big change for drivers coming off SR 99 and heading to parts of South Lake Union, downtown or Capitol Hill. Drivers taking the southbound SR 99 off-ramp to downtown will still be able to take a left on Harrison Street. The southbound bus stop on Seventh Avenue North just north of Denny Way will also remain open.

    Map showing no left turn allowed from southbound Seventh Avenue North onto Denny Way

    Above: The North Surface Streets work zone will expand Saturday, April 20. Click for larger version of map.

    The expanded work zone will give crews space to demolish part of the Battery Street Tunnel’s north portal and continue filling in the trench between the northbound and southbound lanes of Seventh Avenue North.

    Rebuilding “Seventh Avenue North”

    Decommissioning, filling and sealing the Battery Street Tunnel allows us to rebuild three blocks of Aurora Avenue North between Denny Way and Harrison Street. When work is complete in 2020, this stretch of road will look like a typical city avenue instead of highway on- and off-ramps. To reflect this change in character, the City of Seattle recently renamed these three blocks “Seventh Avenue North.” The single block of former Aurora Avenue between Denny Way and Sixth Avenue has been renamed Borealis Avenue. (Aurora borealis? Get it? You get it.)

    Kiewit is currently working on the inside, sunken lanes of Seventh Avenue North, which used to be the SR 99 approach to the Battery Street Tunnel. Crews must complete utility work, fill the portal and raise the trench to match the grade of the surrounding land, then pave new travel lanes. Once they complete this work, the travel lanes and work zone will swap places, with traffic on the new inside lanes and crews working on the outside edges of the street.

    This North Surface Streets work is scheduled to be complete in 2020. For updates on road closures in this area, subscribe to our weekly construction email.

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    Order: 3.3

  • Viaduct demolition at the two-month mark

    Viaduct demolition began in the middle of February, and these first two months have produced dramatic visual changes along Seattle’s waterfront. Here's a rundown of recent progress:

    South to north on the central waterfront

    View of viaduct being demolished in stages

    Caption: Here you can see the stages of demolition from left to right: first the top deck, then the girders and columns of the upper deck, then the lower deck.

    The largest and most eye-catching portion of removal is occurring between Yesler Way and Madison Street. The Columbia Street on-ramp is gone (save two columns that will be reused in a new, temporary pedestrian bridge) and crews are working their way north.

    View looking east across Alaskan Way, with no viaduct in sight

    Caption: The view of Columbia Street from Alaskan Way. The two standing columns seen in the background (previously used to support the Columbia Street on-ramp) will be reused to support the temporary pedestrian bridge.

    On April 10, one lane of Columbia Street reopened between First Avenue and Alaskan Way, giving a glimpse into the future of travelling along the new Seattle waterfront. The street will eventually become a two-way street and the primary bus route between downtown and Alaskan Way.

    Wide angle view of section of demolished viaduct

    Caption: Another look at the span of the viaduct that has been completely demolished, near Columbia Street.

    Building a new bridge to Colman Dock

    Worker using a small crane to lift a tube of rebar

    Caption: These cages will help form the columns supporting the new pedestrian bridge along Western Avenue.

    Crews are constructing a temporary pedestrian bridge on Western Avenue between Columbia and Marion streets, and along Columbia Street between Western Avenue and Alaskan Way. This bridge will replace the current Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge this summer as a pedestrian route between First Avenue and Colman Dock.

    The sections of the viaduct immediately adjacent to the existing pedestrian bridge have been skipped for the time being. The contractor will wait until the temporary bridge is ready to open before returning to remove this section of viaduct.

    The temporary bridge will be in place until the City of Seattle builds a new, permanent pedestrian bridge on Marion Street as part of the Waterfront Seattle Project.

    Work above the railroad tracks

    Train passing beneath viaduct, with section of viaduct removed

    Caption: The steep slope and active railroad beneath this portion of the viaduct requires a different approach to removal.

    Meanwhile, a separate crew is removing sections of the viaduct adjacent to the BNSF railroad tracks between Pine and Lenora streets. The railroad tracks and steep slope complicate this area, requiring a slower method of removal. Work entails sawcutting one piece of viaduct and lifting it off with a crane. The pieces are driven down to Terminal 25 where they are crunched up.

    Yellow crane sitting atop viaduct

    Caption: Instead of “munching” the viaduct away, crews are saw-cutting pieces and lifting them away with a crane.

    Restoring the north end

    View from viaduct deck looking north, where the viaduct has been removed

    Caption: View from Lenora Street looking north, taken Mar. 22, 2019.

    Demolition north of Pike Place Market is complete for the moment, and the work zone is being restored. The Elliott Avenue on-ramp and western half of the viaduct will be saved until the end of demolition so crews can move equipment on and off.

    Green and white construction machinery sitting among a pile of concrete rubble

    The large number of underground utilities in the area have contributed to a slower-than-expected restoration process, but the contractor plans on opening the Bell and Western intersection in a couple of weeks, and the Elliott and Blanchard intersection shortly thereafter.

    Want regular updates? Subscribe to our weekly construction email for more detailed information and the latest updates. 

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    Order: 3.4

  • Construction bringing ramp, tunnel and road closures this week and weekend

    Seattle drivers using SR 99 this week should prepare for closures and detours as crews finish work on a ramp and conduct the first regular inspection of the new SR 99 tunnel. Meanwhile, the North Surface Streets Project will be closing three blocks of Seventh Avenue North (formerly Aurora Avenue North) this weekend for paving work and temporary light installation.

    Details on each closure listed below:

    Northbound SR 99 off-ramp to Alaskan Way and downtown

    • When: Closed 9 p.m. – 5 a.m., Monday – Friday nights (4/8 – 4/12)
    • Why: Installing railing on the shoulders of the ramp
    • What this means for drivers: There will be no exits northbound on SR 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and the north end of the SR 99 tunnel. Drivers looking to reach SODO, the waterfront or the south end of downtown should use East Marginal Way, First Avenue or other surface streets.

    Southbound SR 99 tunnel

    • When: Closed 11 p.m. Friday, 4/12 – 8 a.m. Saturday, 4/13
    • Why: Regular inspection and maintenance (the northbound directional closure is scheduled for May)
    • What this means for drivers: All southbound SR 99 traffic approaching the tunnel will have to leave the highway at Harrison Street.

    Seventh Avenue North weekday

    • When: Closed 9 p.m - 5 a.m., Monday, 4/8  Thursday, 4/11
    • Where: Northbound lane closed Tuesday and Thursday nights; southbound closed Monday and Wednesday nights
    • Why: Installing temporary lighting
    • What this means for drivers: Northbound detour will be Dexter Avenue North and Harrison Street. Southbound detour will be Harrison Street and Sixth Avenue North.

    Northbound Seventh Avenue North weekend

    • When: Closed 9 p.m. Friday, 4/12 – 5 a.m. Monday, 4/15
    • Why: Paving work
    • What this means for drivers: Detour for drivers to reach the northbound SR 99 on-ramp will be Dexter Avenue North and Harrison Street. See map below:

    Map showing detour route

    Want traffic news as it happens? Follow SDOT Traffic on Twitter for Seattle traffic updates and WSDOT’s traffic Twitter account for Puget Sound highway traffic conditions.

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    Order: 3.5

  • Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge will close March 30–31 for overhead viaduct demolition

    Update 3/27/19 9:10 a.m.: The closure of the Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge has been cancelled. Kiewit has changed their work plan and will no longer need to temporarily close the pedestrian bridge. They will skip over the section of the viaduct on either side of the pedestrian bridge, coming back to remove that section after the new pedestrian bridge on Columbia Street is ready to open this summer.

    Ferry passengers and other users of the Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge should prepare for detours this weekend as the viaduct demolition contractor Kiewit will close the bridge Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31. This is a safety precaution while Kiewit removes parts of the viaduct decks above and around the bridge. Marion Street beneath the viaduct will also be closed for about a week.

    Closure sequence:

    • Tuesday morning, 3/26: Marion Street closes between Alaskan Way and Western Avenue
    • Saturday morning, 3/30: Pedestrian bridge closes beneath the viaduct
    • Sunday night, 3/31: Pedestrian bridge reopens

    Kiewit will remove parts of the viaduct deck above and around the pedestrian bridge (“slotting” the deck), while leaving the girders and columns in place. WSDOT and Kiewit know that closing the bridge is disruptive to Colman Dock travelers and so have been refining their plans to make this as short of a closure as possible. Removing this portion of the viaduct now will speed up Kiewit’s overall work schedule and reduce construction disruption this summer. After this short closure, the bridge will stay open until the new, temporary bridge being built on Columbia Street is ready to open this summer.

    Free, ADA-accessible shuttle while bridge is closed

    Kiewit will run a shuttle van while the bridge is closed. The shuttle is free and for all users, although priority will be given to people with limited mobility or who require extra accommodation. The shuttle will stop near each end of the Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge.

    Shuttle details:

    • Operating hours: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m. (during Colman Dock operating hours)
    • Frequency: Every 20–30 minutes
    • Colman Dock stop location: West side of Alaskan Way north of Marion Street
    • First Avenue stop location: East side of First Avenue between Marion and Columbia streets

    The shuttle van will drive a loop between Colman Dock and the intersection of First Ave and Marion Street. The route is below:

    Map showing shuttle route through downtown Seattle

    Other pedestrian detour options while the pedestrian bridge is closed:

    • Madison Street and Columbia Streets will both be open to pedestrians between Alaskan Way and First Avenue.
    • The pedestrian bridge stairs at Western Avenue and the elevator at Post Avenue will both be open.

    Sign up for our weekly construction email for the latest on viaduct road closures and work progress. You can learn more about construction at Colman Dock on that project’s website.

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    Order: 3.6

  • 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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  • 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