As Highway 99 tunnel digging resumes, here’s what else is up/down

Not another tunnel: south portal operations building under construction in September 2013

Tunnel-digging – which resumed today – is NOT all that’s happening along the Highway 99 corridor nearest us. The photo above, shared by WSDOT on the WSB Flickr page, shows what’s being dug next to the tunnel machine’s launch pit south of what’s left of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This site will hold the South Portal Operations Building for the tunnel, explained by WSDOT: “The building – along with a similar one at the tunnel’s future north portal – will house the equipment needed for the safe operation of the tunnel, including emergency generators, ventilation fans and parking space for maintenance vehicles.”

This project is part of what the combined Stakeholders Groups were briefed about last Tuesday. We cover those quarterly-or-so briefings when we can, because they are usually chock full of news about road projects affecting us, but this time it was in direct conflict with the big Seattle Public Schools announcement – so we weren’t there. However, the presentation from the meeting is online now, and if you want a quick update on what’s up, the toplines include:

*Findings on another tunnel-tolling scenario (page 4)
*More on the aforementioned South Portal building and the Atlantic St. overpass (page 8)
*Progress report on the Highway 99 timber bridge project south of the WS Bridge (page 50)

Scroll through it (PDF) here.

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7 Replies to "As Highway 99 tunnel digging resumes, here's what else is up/down"

  • comment-avatar
    iggy September 23, 2013 (5:28 pm)

    They just said on the TV news that the Viaduct will need to be shut down for one to two weeks when they tunnel underneath it. The DOT would not say exactly when or for how long, only that “the public will be given ample notice.” I had to laugh. Their idea of ample notice is usually a week. Those of us who need to make doctor or other appointments downtown would really appreciate as much advance notice as possible, so that we can schedule appropriately. I would think that the DOT would like as many people as possible to stay in West Seattle for the duration of the closure, since traffic will be a mess, I would expect.

  • comment-avatar
    JanS September 23, 2013 (9:03 pm)

    actually, this was brought up on the blog in April:

    http://westseattleblog.com/2013/04/highway-99-tunnel-alaskan-way-viaduct-might-close-while-tunnel-machine-is-digging-beneath-it/

    when will it happen? with the delay that just got over, because 8 people were unhappy, who knows…but, according to what’s been said, it will only be for a few days. We’ve been forewarned, and now we need to really pay attention..

    • comment-avatar
      WSB September 23, 2013 (9:06 pm)

      Thanks, Jan! I just saw Ig’s comment and was going to go find that link :)

  • comment-avatar
    Spana September 24, 2013 (8:27 am)

    I am not fundamentally opposed to the tunnel, but use 99 for my daily commute and have found that my wallet is fundamentally opposed to expensive tolls.

    Do you think I can crowdsource a ready-to-go pass? DonorsChoose to help me get to Fremont weekday mornings Sept – June?

    I had secretly hoped the labor dispute would buy my years more time on my “free” ride.

  • comment-avatar
    Ex-Westwood Resident September 24, 2013 (11:13 am)

    Was watching the news last night when they covered the delay the caused by the child-like spat between the unions.
    They were saying that the delay WAS going to cause an added cost, but were unsure at this time how much it would be.
    ANY cost over-run, even one penny, incurred due to the unions hissy fit, should be charged and collected from the unions instead of the taxpayer!!!!

  • comment-avatar
    Raymond September 24, 2013 (8:49 pm)

    Can someone please tell me what is really going to happen here. 99 North will be shut down for two weeks? Do we know for sure that Bertha will not damage the viaduct and it will be shut down for years?

  • comment-avatar
    Skye October 7, 2013 (10:53 pm)

    I think what people are forgetting is it’s only two lanes for cars, they are cutting bus runs due to funding,there are only two exits for downtown and those two exits will be lined up for miles. What little flow there is now will be depleted. If there is a wreck, it will be stand still for over an hour, if not longer. It’s a waste of a highway now and I-5 is already bottle necked. Seattle will be more of a parking lot than it already is.

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