Milestone for the Highway 99 tunnel project: Barging begins

November 23, 2013 at 9:53 am | In Alaskan Way Viaduct, Transportation, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

Milestone in the Highway 99 tunnel project this morning, according to this update just sent to news media by WSDOT‘s KaDeena Yerkan:

… Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) started using barges to remove excavated soil from the SR 99 tunnel dig site this morning. The barges will take the excavated soil to Mats Mats, a quarry near Port Ludlow.

Prior to today, STP was using trucks to remove soil and dispose of it at facilities in the Puget Sound region. Moving forward, STP will use a combination of barges and trucks.

The labor issue that arose earlier in the tunnel drive has been resolved. Discussions between WSDOT and STP are ongoing. Details will be available upon the conclusion of those discussions.

By the way, a project-related closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is still looming, once the tunneling machine gets to the spot immediately beneath the existing structure, as first reported here back in April. We had asked Yerkan for an update and received this reply late Friday: “We still don’t have a date for when we will tunnel under the viaduct and thus close the structure to traffic for up to two weeks.”

11 Comments

  1. so much for “keeping the viaduct open” as a main selling point for building the DBT.

    Comment by redblack — 3:04 pm November 23, 2013 #

  2. I think an up to two week closure of the viaduct is reasonable and prudent. They close that earthquake prone structure periodically for inspection as it is. I am surprised that redblack would take a dig at this.

    Comment by Genesee Hill — 3:34 pm November 23, 2013 #

  3. not looking forward to that’ it’s gonna suck

    Comment by sam-c — 5:37 pm November 23, 2013 #

  4. While it should be taken note of that we were not given all the facts about keeping the viaduct open, I’ll appreciate not being on it if one of the support pylons decides to crush the tunnel machine.

    Comment by Civik — 5:59 pm November 23, 2013 #

  5. The plans have always included some potential viaduct closures prior to the tunnel opening and before the new street grid opens. Problem is, the general public doesn’t often read everything and picks what they want to hear…reality sets in, no? Just wait until the tunnel opens before the new street grid is done; the new street grid can’t be completed until the viaduct comes down. That will make any interim closures a pieces of cake.

    Comment by Al — 9:31 am November 24, 2013 #

  6. redblack … oh c’mon …

    I get it – you’re still grousing over a project you don’t agree with. Your right and bless you for it.

    But please spare us the revisionist distortions. Closing the viaduct for a couple of weeks is prudent caution in the loose fill material they will be drilling through. We were told that the viaduct would remain open during the life of the project. It is – it will be. Just because they have amended the plan to close for a very brief window over the entire length of the project doesn’t mean WSDOT lied, as you seem to be implying. Lighten up.

    Comment by wscommuter — 10:23 am November 24, 2013 #

  7. I would add that any other alternative to replace the Viaduct would have left us without the Viaduct for several years, not just 2 weeks. And yes, I purposely left out the retrofit ‘option’ as it was a non-starter from the get-go, altho it would have likely required frequent closures.
    .
    Once the Viaduct is down and the Alaskan Way and Mercer Mess improvements and seawall rebuild are done, traffic flow in downtown, SODO, Denny Regrade, etc. will be completely different. Not perfect, but better considering the topography and limited space available between I-5 and the waterfront. Unfortunately, SDOT seems to have done away with the web page that talked about how these projects are interconnected.

    Comment by metrognome — 11:07 am November 24, 2013 #

  8. If it is in fact “two weeks” I will eat my hat. No wait, I’ll need my hat as I walk to work in the rain.

    The planners of this debacle will feed us citizens any story they think will keep us off their A#*’s. Boondogle Bertha keeps on drillin’.

    Comment by Buck — 10:24 pm November 24, 2013 #

  9. yeah, we’ll see. the closure is a precautionary measure. if bertha undermines the AWV, it will be closed for the life of the project. tunneling has already opened one sink hole.
    .
    what i’m saying is that we might soon discover that all replacement options – including DBT – will permanently close the viaduct during its replacement.
    .
    what is the economic impact is of two weeks of no viaduct, with no alternate routes or contingency plans in place? where’s the king street exit that would at least allow the new construction to remain open as a route into downtown? see, that’s the part of DBT that gets under my skin: lack of foresight and a willful neglect to plan or budget for worst-case scenarios.
    .
    this is what happens when you fit a ten-pound budget into a five-pound bag.

    Comment by redblack — 5:55 am November 25, 2013 #

  10. It sounds like they are using the same prognosis and planing group that obama-care is using……

    Comment by robert — 6:21 am November 25, 2013 #

  11. The Longshoremen prevailed in this battle w/Seattle Tunnel Partners. No jobs, no barges. The Longshoremen had leverage and used it. Way to go ILWU standing up for the working man…

    Comment by Mlk — 6:36 pm November 30, 2013 #

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