Highway 99 tunnel: Alaskan Way Viaduct might close while tunnel machine is digging beneath it

April 18, 2013 at 11:02 am | In Alaskan Way Viaduct, Safety, West Seattle news | 76 Comments

IMG_7440

(Machinery photographed at Highway 99 tunnel launch-pit site by Don Brubeck)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The Highway 99 tunneling machine is here, and being re-assembled. But once it goes into the ground, it won’t be “out of sight, out of mind” by any means.

Drivers and bus riders, in particular, might wind up noticing in a big way:

WSB has learned that the Alaskan Way Viaduct might close for an unspecified amount of time later this year when the machine arrives 80 feet below what remains of the elevated roadway, despite the work that’s been done to reinforce it so it could stay “safely open” during the tunnel construction.

We first heard about this last night from Don Brubeck, president of West Seattle Bike Connections, who mentioned it during an unrelated presentation at the Morgan Community Association meeting (separate coverage of that is in the works).

Brubeck explained that SDOT director Peter Hahn brought up the potential Viaduct closure during this week’s Freight Advisory Board meeting; it’s noted in Brubeck’s meeting notes on the new WSBC website. He quoted Hahn as saying that local transportation authorities are gearing up now to get the word out about alternative transportation.

Since The Viaduct is part of a state highway – and the tunnel, a state project – we followed up this morning with WSDOT spokesperson Travis Phelps.

He confirmed that WSDOT is talking about a possible closure when the tunneling machine goes under what he described as the southernmost part of what’s left of the elevated Viaduct, but said no final decision has been made yet.

What’s the timetable for that decision? Sometime this spring, according to Phelps – maybe by the time the project-related “working groups” have their meeting in early May. Right now, they’re still hashing out details such as, “how long would we close it if we close it?” and the idea is “just sort of out there.”

He also mentioned that even once the machine goes into the ground, it starts with “three safe havens” that are more or less test digs before it really gets to the dirt.

You’ll recall the Viaduct itself already has been the subject of extensive reinforcement work, mostly done during overnight and weekend closures over the past year-plus. In a March 2012 news release, deputy program administrator Matt Preedy was quoted as saying that the reinforcement work “allows us to keep the viaduct safely open to traffic while we build the tunnel …” but apparently that assessment is evolving.

We’ll keep following up to see what WSDOT decides.

76 Comments

  1. Well if this comes to fruition then it would be safe to assume that traffic would be a nightmare given how necessary the viaduct is to 100K+ vehicles a day.

    Comment by MetPatrick — 11:24 am April 18, 2013 #

  2. This is simultaneously unsurprising and infuriating.

    Comment by WSRedHeadedStepchild — 11:29 am April 18, 2013 #

  3. I can’t say I’m surprised. Every geologist I know refuses to drive on that thing. (Which isn’t to say that ALL geologists refuse to drive on it! Just the ones I know.)

    Comment by datamuse — 11:33 am April 18, 2013 #

  4. We might as well saw West Seattle off at W Marginal and push ourselves into Puget Sound.

    Comment by X — 11:41 am April 18, 2013 #

  5. Well it will be a good preview of the traffic nightmare we will have permanently once the dramatically lane-reduced and tolled tunnel is open and the viaduct is gone!

    Comment by dave — 11:42 am April 18, 2013 #

  6. This is only the begining of the “oops, we were wrong” changes & over-runs the tunnel boring advocates will pass off as “adjustments”. These morons are wasting tax payer dollars (job security) to dig a tunnel past downtown so I can spend more time in my car circling back around to get to a waterfront “park”. Really? F U McGinn & co. How about giving us decent bus service to Shilshoe Beach?

    Comment by TuckTheFunnel — 11:44 am April 18, 2013 #

  7. I want to comment, but the language I would use would get my comment deleted.

    Comment by dsa — 11:45 am April 18, 2013 #

  8. Now _THAT’S_ a drill.

    Comment by Nancy F. — 11:49 am April 18, 2013 #

  9. Are there opportunities to increase water taxi runs, and connect those runs to downtown buses outside the construction zone??

    Comment by Chris W — 11:49 am April 18, 2013 #

  10. Glad I commute from High Point to Boeing Field but this will be really ugly for anyone in West Seattle or NE neighborhoods that go to our area!

    Comment by Trickycoolj — 11:59 am April 18, 2013 #

  11. Tuck, in McGinn’s defense, he supported extending Light Rail to West Seattle, but the SDOT knocked it down.

    If we had some public transport right of way options, the closure of 99 wouldn’t be such a pain.

    Comment by East Coast Cynic — 12:08 pm April 18, 2013 #

  12. This whole project is like a game of marbles, not a sharp on in the game.

    Comment by SrslySharon — 12:12 pm April 18, 2013 #

  13. Hear that? That’s the sound of falling West Seattle property values. Sounds good huh? Enjoy your tunnel.

    Comment by Gary E — 12:14 pm April 18, 2013 #

  14. I continue to believe that even now, we should cut our losses: tear down the viaduct, spend $1-2 billion to improve I-5 (including access to it from the port and WS), and be done with it. Forget this boondoggle of a tunnel.

    Comment by Ben — 12:14 pm April 18, 2013 #

  15. Crazy. You ain’t seen nothin yet!

    Comment by Mike — 12:33 pm April 18, 2013 #

  16. Thought one of the reasons they went with a tunnel is that it wouldn’t disrupt traffic during construction. Can’t wait

    Comment by nick — 12:35 pm April 18, 2013 #

  17. Agreed with East Coast… Not to be a concerted McGinn apologist (as I’m rather ‘meh’ about it), but didn’t he appose the tunnel too? And it came to the point where he pretty much had to give up or start committing a bunch of money to stop it?

    The tunnel hasn’t been a great idea from the start, the band aid is just being ripped off slowly.

    Comment by Mat — 12:40 pm April 18, 2013 #

  18. We should expand I-5 to be wider through downtown. The reduction to 2 through-lanes at the express lane onramp is the bottleneck that slows traffic all the way to the our bridge.
    .
    To be absolutely clear, I mean we should add more capacity on I-5 for CARS, not bicycles or pedestrains.

    Comment by Alex — 12:59 pm April 18, 2013 #

  19. closed the whole time or just when it’s drilling near the entry / southern point?

    headline makes it seems the whole time but text below:

    “He confirmed that WSDOT is talking about a possible closure when the tunneling machine goes under what he described as the southernmost part of what’s left of the elevated Viaduct, but said no final decision has been made yet.”

    Comment by sam-c — 1:00 pm April 18, 2013 #

  20. Perhaps more realistically, I think we should extend (and enforce ) the no-lane-change zone heading into the I-5 onramp. With 99 getting worse and traffic to I-5 increasing, we can’t keep letting last-minute line cutters pointlessly block the paths to I-5 south and columbian way.

    Comment by Alex — 1:03 pm April 18, 2013 #

  21. So I get to stand on the Crapid Ride for two hours in bridge traffic? AWESOME!

    Comment by DTK — 1:11 pm April 18, 2013 #

  22. One seldom discussed topic is the RR tunnel that goes from King St Station to the waterfront. What about rail traffic?

    Comment by RR Dude — 1:46 pm April 18, 2013 #

  23. That’s a smart idea. For the few days its literally UNDER the viaduct it SHOULD be closed. Then it can reopen for the rest of the year, but for that little stretch, just for safety, I’m all for it being shut down.

    Comment by Alki Area — 1:52 pm April 18, 2013 #

  24. What a mess. I STILL don’t understand how the tunnel is a step forward for the city’s traffic issues right now, let alone years to come.

    The key to solving traffic issues is to flow LESS traffic? Realistically we need a tunnel AND a new viaduct. Am I missing something?

    Comment by Westside J. — 2:15 pm April 18, 2013 #

  25. Pretty sure McGinn didn’t want the tunnel.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 2:17 pm April 18, 2013 #

  26. WSDOT could not provide a time frame but to be clear – one commenter was wondering – this is regarding when it is directly beneath the viaduct, and most of the route is NOT directly beneath the viaduct. I’ll have to go find a map.

    Comment by WSB — 2:18 pm April 18, 2013 #

  27. I really think the dip$#!+$ in office wanted this tunnel so badly just for the “hey look at how fancy we are, country! Were gonna have a tunnel! Bridges and viaducts are SO 50 years ago!”

    If they want a to tunnel so badly, give us a subway system. Maybe then I’ll actually get to work in a timely fashion.

    Comment by Westside J. — 2:21 pm April 18, 2013 #

  28. Alex, I appreciate your perfect clarity, but as you know I-5 has zero capacity for bicycles and pedestrians (we may have to revisit that when the oil runs out…)

    BUT when they built freeway park in the 1970s they kind of set an absolute limit on capacity.

    As for the W.Sea Bridge access to I-5 North, I agree, but short of a bunch of steel pylons I think there’s very little we can do to positively influence the behavior of a minority of selfish motorists.

    Sure Crapid Ride is Crappy, but why? all the cars. With the exception of occasional barges to Alaska the only reason transportation to and from W. Sea is bad and getting worse (the only reason!) is everybody driving themselves in their cars. I’d love to hear a counter argument, but I don’t think, if we’re being honest with ourselves, that there is one.

    Comment by JAT — 2:24 pm April 18, 2013 #

  29. A viaduct and a tunnel is something I would support.

    Comment by dsa — 2:51 pm April 18, 2013 #

  30. If they are even mentioning closing the viaduct during construction, they are admitting concern to overhead catastrophe. The viaduct is not the only public or private area the tunnel traverses. I cannot believe how this has come up.
    .
    The only thing I can think of is that there is a slight possibility of hitting a viaduct pier piling.
    .
    Frankly, I hope they do and totally break Bertha to bits.

    Comment by dsa — 2:56 pm April 18, 2013 #

  31. Hey…Westside J

    As others have said: “the dip$#!+$ in office” absolutely DID NOT want the tunnel built.

    Comment by Jeanine — 3:07 pm April 18, 2013 #

  32. The gov orchestrated the agreement between agencies and jurisdictions.

    Comment by dsa — 3:23 pm April 18, 2013 #

  33. Thanks WSB for making us aware of this. You are an excellent source for news.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 3:43 pm April 18, 2013 #

  34. McSchwinn did not want the tunnel, he wanted the only more asinine proposal, the one being pushed by The Stranger, to improve the waterfront for developers and other wealthy people by tearing down the viaduct and replacing it with nothing, which would create traffic similar to what this here thingy is gonna do. I would vote for a box of rocks before McSchwinn.

    Comment by Fiwa Jcbbb — 3:46 pm April 18, 2013 #

  35. Reasonable and prudent. If something happens the whiners will be ALL OVER SDOT and WSDOT, and anyone else they deem responsible.

    Comment by Vincent Vega — 3:46 pm April 18, 2013 #

  36. @JAT – Crapid Ride is Crappy because they discontinued a bunch of established lines and crammed all of those people into articulates with less frequency and less seating. Vehicles on the bridge haven’t changed in the last year, but just wait until the planned apartment bonanza becomes reality.

    Comment by DTK — 3:58 pm April 18, 2013 #

  37. Who WOULD want to be on the viaduct when this thing starts digging?

    Comment by T Rex — 4:04 pm April 18, 2013 #

  38. Thanks, Hipster, and I do have to put in another plug for Don and West Seattle Bike Connections. I go to some meetings that seldom see other reporters – like the Design Commission marathon that just ended, and most of the local neighborhood councils – but the Freight Advisory Board! I bow to him on that one. You just never know where news will emerge.

    Comment by WSB — 4:29 pm April 18, 2013 #

  39. And people still wanted a viaduct….lol

    Comment by mike — 4:38 pm April 18, 2013 #

  40. Thanks, Tracy. I don’t go to lots of meetings, but one thing our bike transportation advocacy group realizes is that Seattle needs good freight mobility and the jobs that go with it. And, to ride a bike out of West Seattle to downtown, Georgetown, SODO, Beacon Hill, South Park or Renton we need to share the road with trucks, trains and ships. So we need to figure out how to support each other. The more people on bikes on safe, separated lanes,the fewer cars there will be holding up freight traffic and the people who really need to drive.

    Comment by Don Brubeck — 4:46 pm April 18, 2013 #

  41. NONE of this should be a surprise to any of us. This was inevitable; really, did any of us think they could simultaneously drill while we drive?!

    It is going to be a nightmare, but at least we can’t say we didn’t know. Start preparing now! I recommend greasing the skids with your employers, too. Unless, they “live in WS”, they won’t get it.

    Comment by WTF — 5:03 pm April 18, 2013 #

  42. After living and loving West Seattle for 27 years my husband and I moved out. Once they cut the viaduct my commute trip pled. I couldn’t deal with the inching along at 3 miles an hour or going around to Beacon or trying to go through downtown to get home. Its only going to get worse once they do start tunneling. That part of the city is dead to me now….as it has been to the city government for along time!

    Comment by peggie — 5:38 pm April 18, 2013 #

  43. So nice…we get a brief reprieve from the “speeding in a school zone” crowd.

    Thanks.

    Comment by Mia Wallace — 5:39 pm April 18, 2013 #

  44. Freight traffic holds up freight traffic. I’ve seen a backup to i5 for the port more than a few times.

    Comment by mike — 5:40 pm April 18, 2013 #

  45. A small fact that seems to be missing from this story. The tunnel machine will be digging 30+ feet per day, and it just passes under the small bit of viaduct diagonally at the south end, maybe 100 to 150 feet worth of passing underneath. This won’t be a long closing if it does happen, a few days, maybe a week.

    But I don’t want to let facts get in the way of the rants of the tunnel haters. Have fun, and if you ever come up with a better solution, please post it for our education.

    Comment by sardine — 5:40 pm April 18, 2013 #

  46. Alex — Exactly. The downtown choke points constitute a significant portion of our commute time.

    Comment by Andy — 5:45 pm April 18, 2013 #

  47. Umm… Didn’t they say the advantage of the tunnel over the viaduct replacement was that the viaduct could actually remain open during tunnel construction?

    I feel duped!!!!

    Comment by Greg — 6:06 pm April 18, 2013 #

  48. A few years ago I actually did see a SPD officer pulling over vehicles that “cut in” and crossed the double white line and/or gore point at the I-5 N on ramp. He was on foot! As I drove by, I gave him a light toot and thumbs up, and he smiled in return. Metal posts would be a bit severe, but the plastic ones would be good. I’d also like to see them along the edges of the gore points. It would be good to add signage as to the fine for the violation. I think the fine for crossing the gore point is $411 (but not 100% sure).
    .
    When this closure happens, we will have to cancel / reschedule our Ballard doctor appointments. Plan ahead!
    .
    Thinking more and more about leaving this city.

    Comment by GFC — 6:37 pm April 18, 2013 #

  49. I STILL can’t believe this was voted for. I can’t, and yet I must, cause here it is.
    .
    That said, thanks for the heads up.
    .
    That drill head reminds me of my last visit to the dentist.

    Comment by Eldrad — 6:58 pm April 18, 2013 #

  50. 4th Ave. is underutilized.
    For the hyper-fretful who are distressed about adding a few minutes to their commute, get out a map and find another route.

    Comment by dawsonct — 7:15 pm April 18, 2013 #

  51. Happier and happier that we bought a place downtown. After having to deal with The Big Dig off and on for a 15 years in Boston, we knew it was probable that it would happen here. Public or private, these planners are winging all the time on these one of a kind projects.

    Comment by Carter — 7:57 pm April 18, 2013 #

  52. Wouldve been great to have the monorail up and running..oh wait another great idea that never happened. With all the new development of apartmenrs and incoming people, plus a potential viaduct closure, West seattle commuters: welcome to hell….

    Comment by Spank — 8:35 pm April 18, 2013 #

  53. Well, at the very least if they ever accomplish digging this tunnel they’ll probably stop closing it down on weekends for marathons.

    Comment by ChefJoe — 8:41 pm April 18, 2013 #

  54. It is amazing to read the hysteria and ignorance (I laughed out loud at truly and amazingly ignorant who both hate the tunnel and nonetheless think McGinn supported it … priceless).

    Sardine is correct. Take a deep breath folks and chill. If – IF – in an abundance of caution – WSDOT decides to close the viaduct while the TBM passes beneath it, we’re talking about a few days – not weeks or months. Yes, those few days will suck for all of us who commute … but I think, probably, most likely, the world will not end if that happens. Probably.

    Geez people … deal in reality, even if you do want to hate on the tunnel.

    Comment by wscommuter — 8:43 pm April 18, 2013 #

  55. I am contemplating the size of the wine bottle that goes with the corkscrew in the picture:) (Gonna need plenty of wine after battling that mess each day!)

    Comment by Last53BusRider — 8:46 pm April 18, 2013 #

  56. Being adamantly against this deep bore tunnel does not make one hysterical, ignorant nor a hater. This tunnel is not the way forward for our cities transportation requirements. The construction of the tunnel is damaging to the environment, all the contaminated soil being dug out. The quantity of water used for the slurry and the pollution there of. The operating costs if/when this thing gets completed are huge. I’m very concerned about the new electrical bill that the tunnel will bring to the budget. To me, when there are multiple options and one of the options has an operating cost 600x that of any other option that particular option gets removed from consideration. This tunnel shouldn’t be being built. Its the wrong option.

    Comment by anette — 11:21 pm April 18, 2013 #

  57. THIS GDAMN ISSUE WAS BROUGHT UP WHEN THEY WERE PLANNING THIS BOONDOGGLE..”oh no no way” they said…REVOLUTION NOW!!!!

    Comment by Buck — 12:43 am April 19, 2013 #

  58. It’s not that McGinn opposed the tunnel. He opposed everything. He wanted to tear down the viaduct and not replace it, because (as we all now know), McGinn and his buddies hate cars and the people who drive them, except when it comes time to stick someone with the bill.

    The right solution way back when would’ve been to repair the viaduct. Two state highway engineers estimated it would’ve cost $800 million, but an unholy alliance between the car haters and the construction mafia made it impossible to do the right thing.

    So now, thanks to both McGinn and the construction mafia, we will have the worst and most expensive non-solution.

    Comment by Live Here — 4:37 am April 19, 2013 #

  59. Dust off your bicycle, pump your tires, get your rain gear and lights and helmet in order. You will arrive at your destination in a much happier disposition than if your body is trapped every day for an hour in a 2-ton vehicle wasting fuel or electricity in a slowly creeping traffic jam.

    Comment by Kathy — 7:20 am April 19, 2013 #

  60. Please remember, we’ve had way too many editions of the “bikers suck/no, drivers suck/no, bikers suck” fights here, and we have a permanent moratorium as a result. No further comments trying to drag this into that realm will be approved. Thank you.

    Comment by WSB — 8:21 am April 19, 2013 #

  61. That drill bit part looks like it could be an art installation related to the project! ;-)

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 8:36 am April 19, 2013 #

  62. I nanny and that means I drive small children around town all week long. bicycling is not an option for me. I have to be in North Seattle by 8 am most days. Buses aren’t an option either. They are very family and child unfriendly. I’ve even had bus drivers refuse to allow me on with a stroller. Two year olds can only walk so far! Some of us really do need to drive. Families are an important part of what makes a city healthy, yet most of the transit decisions being made do not take the needs of families with small children into account.

    Comment by Scooterista — 8:39 am April 19, 2013 #

  63. This just in; Seattle screwed by really big screw. I really like the name calling. Usually means that you can’t make a valid point without it and at that point I don’t consider it.

    Comment by Rick — 8:42 am April 19, 2013 #

  64. Just a note,

    That drill bit in the photo above is not nearly as big as the photo makes it look. It’s a fraction of the size seen in the photo. The Van in the photo is probably 200 feet behind the drill bit.

    Saw it yesterday and was really dissapointed by it’s size.

    * No size jokes! :)

    Comment by Brewmeister — 9:40 am April 19, 2013 #

  65. Scooterista, I completely understand. Most of the ‘micro’ housing and apodments, plus the metro boondoggle and now the city is crapping on anyone who needs to drive.

    Seattle seems to desperately want to be unfriendly to families.

    Comment by Civik — 9:57 am April 19, 2013 #

  66. I hope everyone is aware that this will only continue to get worse. It will NEVER get better. More and more people on the planet and more and more people in our city. Less parking everywhere. Nothing they do will make it better. I sure hope that after the Tunnel is done, they use this drill to start working on a more robust public transportation system.

    Comment by 4thGenWS — 10:28 am April 19, 2013 #

  67. I never realized West Seattlites were so capable of out-whining the folks in Madison Valley or Montlake.

    I never wanted the tunnel either but we’re all going to have to deal with a small inconvenience for a short period of time.

    Calm yourselves and take a week of vacation, if necessary.

    Comment by GWoodMayor — 10:36 am April 19, 2013 #

  68. The Deep Bore Tunnel highway project will be a catastrophic failure. In watery unstable soils where voids and sinkholes form over time along the bore shell, no amount of construction grout can stop water siltration and thus damage beyond repair to vulnerable historic and modern building foundations above and forced demolition. Say good bye to Pioneer Square. Replacement buildings also face questions (unasked and unanswered today) about structural integrity.

    The proposed seawall replacement (Soil Stabilization?) does just the opposite as it increases underground water flow from bay to bore. The beach idea is NOT good for migrating salmon, but blithering Seattle nitwits are easily misled to believe otherwise.

    Street reconfigurations, SDOT Mercer West and Alaskan Way boulevard, are likewise murderous because they raise statistical accident rate & severity including fatalities. High-density residential Queen Anne is to become a truck route between I-5 and Interbay and the Mercer Mess will be messier. Alaskan Way will be a bottleneck of chaotic traffic accidents, pedestrian and bicycle fatalities.

    Wsdot directors and department heads RIGGED numerous studies before and after the 2007 vote to “predetermined outcomes” which favored an elevated replacement monstrosity initially by exaggerating minor flaws of cut/cover tunnel options. The current cut/cover in the FEIS was in 2007 censored from public view preventing a fair review. Surface/transit option studies after the 2007 vote were likewise rigged though that option too is more viable and durable alternative than the deep bore tunnel.

    Seattle is committing suicide.

    Comment by Art Lewellan — 11:44 am April 19, 2013 #

  69. Soon we’ll have great weather, and it will be a great time to use a bike for transportation to downtown. Connect with West Seattle Bike Connections and we’ll help you get started.
    .
    We understand there’s a handful of people who need to drive (nannies with kids, elderly, disabled). But there’s a lot more people who we can help get out of their cars and onto bikes. Hundreds of people on bikes going to downtown gets hundreds of cars off the bridge.
    .
    If we assume the bridge is ~1.5 miles long (7920 feet) and each personal automobile takes up 12 feet, then each lane on the bridge can only hold 660 cars at a single instance. There’s simply not much capacity and adding a dozen more lanes in each direction won’t solve the problem. Seattle doesn’t have space to expand roadways.
    .
    Getting to downtown by bike from West Seattle is extremely easy. When it’s nice there’s great views of Mount Rainier and the Olympics. And hopping on the Water Taxi with your bike is an awesome way to relax (there’s no traffic on the water!).
    .
    Check our events, join us, or contact us if you are interested in riding a bike for transportation into, out of, and around West Seattle.

    Comment by Jeff H — 12:34 pm April 19, 2013 #

  70. And Art Lewellan, who exactly are you?

    Comment by OP — 1:09 pm April 19, 2013 #

  71. I’m all for every form of transportation that works, and I bicycled and walked, a lot, for years. Took the Water Taxi when it served the north end of the waterfront, close enough to walk a mile uphill to the first TV station where I worked in Seattle. However, I am first to say it’s more than a handful who need to drive. For example: We can’t cover breaking news by hopping on a bicycle. We’re looking into a scooter (despite our advanced age), but for now, if something catches fire or other breaking news happens, it’s our job to get there as fast as we can. Even if it’s a mile away in Morgan – we live atop a steep hill, steep as the one in Honolulu that I had to walk my bike back up as a teenager on my way home from school. I had the luxury of time then. Running a 24/7 news website now, I don’t. And previously, when I worked in old media, I worked all manner of bizarre hours and bicycling or walking or even busing from here to Lake Union (my last TV station’s location) at 1:30 am would not have been feasible. We have done what we could to alleviate traffic in other ways – such as, starting a home-based business, therefore removing me from my previous daily bridge trips. Encouraging that sort of activity – encouraging more businesses with more jobs to locate in West Seattle, so we become less of a bedroom community – supporting whatever proposal is reached to get transit off the chopping block and onto the growth track … those are also ways to cut down on traffic. I wish there was organized advocacy for #1 and #2 … TR

    Comment by WSB — 1:50 pm April 19, 2013 #

  72. West Seattle has a world-class cutting edge Blog. What is wrong with envisioning a world-class cutting edge community where it is faster to get around by walking, biking and public transit than it is by single occupancy vehicle, and focusing our energy on achieving that goal? The number of car-centric complaints on this article at this point in history astounds me. I grew up in the 50′s and it was great, the car was king. But that was half a century ago! It is time to move on to the future and try to catch up with cities like Vancouver BC which have already figured out their economy depends on their growing population getting around efficiently, and that will not include everyone getting around by single occupancy vehicle. If we think we “have” to use an SOV to get where we need to go, we should be asking our selves why that is and how we can correct the situation as soon as possible. If we don’t we will never find enough space to contain the cars that we “have” to use. And those cars will be going nowhere. http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2020769212_brenttoderianopedxml.html

    Comment by Kathy — 8:22 am April 20, 2013 #

  73. If we want West Seattle to be connected to the rest of the region, we need to heed the message presented to the Downtown Seattle Association and embrace it not just in Downtown Seattle but also West Seattle.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/brent-toderian/density-urban-planning-vancouver-seattle_b_2752160.html

    (better link than previous post as it does not require a subscription)

    Comment by Kathy — 9:53 am April 20, 2013 #

  74. Jesus, will you people please calm down??!! If … and it’s still IF… the viaduct is closed at all during tunneling, it will be just a BRIEF closure during the early phases of tunneling ONLY. Clearly SDOT is considering sanity-checking engineering assumptions during the early stages of boring — as a taxpayer, I applaud their abundance of caution where human lives and city-crippling lawsuits are concerned.

    So, take a deep breath…. West Seattle property values are not falling (too bad for those of you who hoped for lower property taxes). If that doesn’t help, ask your doctor for a year’s supply of Valium. This too shall pass…

    Comment by Kathleen — 10:58 am April 21, 2013 #

  75. hate to say it, but i told you so…
    .
    WSDOT is probably considering taking the traffic load off of the roadway because they have concerns that the boring machine may undermine and cripple the viaduct. if that worst-case scenario happens, the viaduct will most likely be condemned, because there will be no safe way for traffic to enter or exit the structure at the south end. WSDOT says this will be a brief closure, but if the viaduct is compromised by bertha, the tunnel project is also in danger of being stopped until they’re sure that the soil above won’t collapse into it, along with a lot of sea water. aren’t you glad that WSDOT had to cut the budget for contingencies to 15% to make the project affordable?
    .
    well, we wanted to be able to have our cake and eat it, too…
    .
    now we simply wait and hope for the best possible outcome – with no loss of life or property.

    Comment by redblack — 12:58 pm April 21, 2013 #

  76. “He quoted Hahn as saying that local transportation authorities are gearing up now to get the word out about alternative transportation.”

    To me, the naive and physically able think alternative transportation is the solution to everything. With Metro whining about cuts again, that statement is illogical. For me, the choices are already bad: Pay for a bus and light rail with a four block walk to change or take a bus to the Alaska Junction and change. Either way the time it takes is horrible. Public transpo might work for the 9-5ers but not for those off that schedule. Would all the naive alternative transpo advocates please start to consider people who have trouble walking or people with kids and strollers? DART has even been cut back.

    Comment by J H — 8:06 am April 23, 2013 #

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