West Seattle, Washington
9:10 PM: Thanks to Cami for the tip: All those sirens are for an “automobile rescue” response in the 2300 block of Alki, which is blocked at Bonair. More to come.
9:14 PM: Cami also sent the photo added above. Two-car crash.
9:28 PM: And Cami reports a third damaged car. Meantime, SFD has closed the call, meaning all its units have left the scene.
6:57 AM: See comments for discussion and witness reports. The DUI arrest is confirmed via Tweets by Beat. We’re following up this morning for reports from SPD and SFD.
9:25 AM: Continuing to procure followup information this morning – SFD confirms that no one was taken to the hospital. Spokesperson Lt. Harold Webb says three people were evaluated, including the male driver and female passenger in the original car (who declined further medical attention), and a passenger in one car that was apparently “sideswiped” (the only two cars described as occupied, in the SFD report).
10:07 AM: Just talked to SPD spokesperson Det. Mark Jamieson. He says the final tally of vehicles involved was six, including the one whose 27-year-old driver was cited. That car (described in the police report as a 2015 Toyota Scion) hit a parked Camry “at a high rate of speed” northbound on Alki, so fast that the Camry was flipped, and it in turn, police say, hit the other cars. The driver was not booked into jail; the citation, according to Seattle Municipal Court, is for a misdemeanor violation logged as “person under the influence of intoxicants/drugs.”
Not far from the most recognizable above-ground Seattle icon, the Highway 99 tunneling machine finished its 9,270-foot journey under watchful eyes this morning, as shown in our as-it-happened report earlier.
Photojournalist Christopher Boffoli was there for WSB and put together these video highlights:
If you noticed the drone – that was operated by WSDOT, which has since published this minute-long highlight reel:
So – now what? First: The tunneling machine, which arrived in pieces four years ago, will be taken away in pieces. After the cutterhead’s appearance this morning, removal of the braces began.
WSDOT elaborates on what’s ahead:
STP will disassemble the machine by cutting it into pieces. The pieces will be removed from the pit by crane and placed on trucks. Due to roadway restrictions, each truckload will weigh no more than 20 tons.
Some pieces of the machine may be reused on other tunneling projects, while others will be recycled. Because the machine is so large, removing it will likely take several months.
And then there’s a lot of work to be done inside the tunnel – digging it, and “building rings” along the way, was just the groundwork. This WSDOT post goes into details of what happens inside, from road-building to systems installation to testing and commissioning.
Once the tunnel is tied into the surface network, as recapped in the Viaduct/Tunnel FAQ (and discussed in WSB comments), here’s how Highway 99 is planned to connect to the south end of downtown:
Outside the tunnel, other matters remain unsettled. A big one: How much will the toll be? $1-vicinity recommendations were made three years ago. The Washington State Transportation Commission is charged with determining the final toll but there’s no date set for a vote yet. And of course you’ve heard a lot about court fights over cost overruns, mentioned again today in Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom‘s look at what’s ahead. (Asked today about the cost overruns, Gov. Inslee said, ““There will be other days to talk about paying for this. We know that our State is going to be insistent that the contractor be financially responsible for the project. We have to get that resolved. I know that will be resolved. And I think there is reason for confidence that the State is going to be held harmless here.” Mayor Murray, asked about a legislator’s proposal to require the city to cover those costs, said today, ” I know we have our annual ‘Let’s bash Seattle’ down in Olympia every legislative session. But again it is a State project and the State will make sure it gets paid. And we will pay for the brand new park that will knit Seattle back to its waterfront.”)
Once the tunnel is open – that clears the way for the remainder of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which opened 64 years ago today, to be torn down. It’s been more than five years since the south mile was demolished.
Eight days ago, we were first to report that the man pulled from the Duwamish River after allegedly breaking into a boathouse and attacking someone had been set free on personal recognizance, no charges filed, because, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office told us, police hadn’t referred the case. Late today, we got word the KCPAO has filed a charge against the suspect, 44-year-old Admiral resident Paul D. Story. The charge comes with an arrest warrant/summons carrying built-in bail of $100,000. Story is charged with first-degree burglary, a charge that incorporates the alleged assault on the man who found him in the boathouse, eating someone’s food. The charging documents say Story maced and hit the victim, who tried to defend himself by picking up a pipe and swinging it at Story, who then jumped into the water and swam under the boathouse. Police and rescuers spent 45 minutes trying to get him out of the life-threateningly cold water before finally cutting a hole in the bottom of the boathouse and pulling him out. Charging documents say Story has been booked into jail 23 times in the past 24 years, but only has one felony conviction, for possession of heroin. Whether he is re-arrested in the meantime or not, he is officially ordered to appear in court April 17th to answer the charge.
In this edition of West Seattle Crime Watch – daytime gunfire and 3 stolen-car followups:
DAYTIME GUNFIRE: This unfolded during a busy time Monday afternoon and we didn’t get details until today, after someone called from out of town saying they had heard their business in the 5400 block of Delridge Way SW had been damaged by gunfire. We found an incident number and obtained the report narrative from SPD:
Around 2:25 pm Monday, someone called 911 to say they thought they heard at least two gunshots in the parking lot of the Super 24 convenience store. When police arrived, they were told of a bullet hole in a red food truck/trailer parked behind the store, and that a white Buick and unspecified-color Mercedes had been involved with the gunfire. A witness told officers they had seen someone firing a gun from the white Buick and driving away southbound; police found “a silver 9mm Luger Speer casing” in the street nearby, on Delridge, and security-camera video showing a white Buick and silver Mercedes parked outside the store, but no imagery of the actual gunfire, as of the time the report was filed. No injuries, and no other damage, reported.
STOLEN-CAR FOLLOWUP #1: Todd e-mailed this update:
Just got a call from police and they found our stolen 2007 Honda Civic on Ferry and Massachusetts. It had been stolen the night got of March 24. Car was trashed inside and the windshield was cracked. There was also a lot of stolen stuff in the car. Mostly clothes and phone chargers. And several packages of stolen beef from Safeway. Definitely looked like someone had been living in the car.
Here’s our original report from after the theft; the car was taken from the 3200 block of 41st SW, about a mile from where it was found.
STOLEN CAR FOLLOWUP #3: Also last night, commenter Mark spotted the stolen gold Forester from this Crime Watch story, and reported it to police; its owners have it back. Mark also shared a photo of the people he saw “dropping off” the car and getting into another one.
P.S. Interested in info on gangs and graffiti? That’s what a King County Sheriff’s Office detective will be discussing at Thursday night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting in White Center, 7 pm at the NH Fire District headquarters, 1243 SW 112th, all welcome.
Last month, we mentioned two self-storage facilities are now on the drawing board for Harbor Avenue SW. The one that’s been in the works the longest, at 3252 Harbor SW, goes back before the Seattle Design Commission this Thursday because the project team is seeking a street vacation – the right to include and ultimately acquire what’s on the books as undeveloped public right-of-way, technically part of 29th SW and City View. As part of the process, a “public benefit package” must be proposed and approved, and the Design Commission has to give its blessing. Its next consideration of the project is scheduled for 10:30 am Thursday (April 6th) at City Hall downtown. Steve Tangney of West Coast Self-Storage, proposing to build the new facility, told us last month that their proposed public-benefit package “will focus on improvements to the Alki Trail along our site frontage. We will be widening and reconstructing this section of the trail and adding landscape trees, art, lighting and relocating existing power poles out of the trail.”
Here’s the project page on the commission’s website, where you can see a map as well as documents from the SDC’s review of the project’s “urban-design merit” last December. The project would replace an old industrial building and tow yard with a new 4-story self-storage building with 50 enclosed parking spaces. Thursday’s hearing will include an opportunity for public comment.
11:06 AM: Now that WSDOT says Bertha the tunneling machine is in the final foot before breakthrough, we are going to do what everybody else is doing and put up the live stream. What we’re hearing from those on scene: It’s dusty. Very dusty. More to come. (And if you just want to check back later to see how it all came out, so to speak, Christopher Boffoli is there for WSB and we’ll have pics from him.) If you use Twitter, watching tweets with the hashtag #BerthaBreakthrough is a mix of commentary, observations, humor, and memories (WSDOT notes that today is the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s 64th birthday).
11:28 AM: Christopher sends this view of what it looks like where he and other media are right now.
The site was opened to media about two hours ago. And now as we type this – it just happened:
The cutterhead is visible #BerthaBreakthrough
— Bertha (@BerthaDigsSR99) April 4, 2017
11:35 AM: Pic from Christopher at the pit:
WSDOT has said it’ll take “weeks” before the machine is in its final position in the pit, to be broken down and hauled away in pieces … which is how it arrived, four years ago, via ship from Japan.
12:07 PM: Just in from Christopher, a new, clear view as the cutterhead continues its slow breakthrough:
And here’s the official news release just sent by WSDOT:
A year ago, SR 99 tunnel crews were about to face their biggest challenge: a trip beneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct they were working to replace. Today, with the viaduct and more than 9,270 feet of new tunnel safely behind them, there was nothing left to face but daylight as the SR 99 tunneling machine chewed its way into a pit near Seattle Center.
Bertha’s 1.7-mile drive beneath Seattle came to a successful end Tuesday afternoon, 64 years to the day since the viaduct first opened to traffic. Led by the Washington State Department of Transportation, and designed and built by contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners, the tunnel project will move a two-mile section of SR 99 underground when it wraps up in early 2019. Crews will then demolish the viaduct, clearing the way for the city’s new waterfront.
“This is a historic moment in our state’s transportation history,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Innovation and perseverance are the engines that keep Washington in the forefront. There is still more work ahead but this moment is one worth celebrating.”
Crews will spend the next several days removing steel support braces that stand between Bertha and the interior of the 90-foot-deep disassembly pit. When the braces are gone, crews will drive the machine into its final position and begin cutting it into pieces for removal. As owner of the machine, the contractor will determine which pieces could be salvaged for use on other projects or recycled.
“We were always confident that we would successfully complete the tunnel drive,” Seattle Tunnel Partners Project Manager Chris Dixon said. “The dedication and commitment of everyone on the Seattle Tunnel Partners team has been exceptional, and we wouldn’t be at this milestone without the hard work of our crews. We look forward to continuing this outstanding progress through project completion.”
STP still has significant work to complete before the tunnel opens. Crews must finish building the double-deck highway within the circular walls that were built by crews inside the tunneling machine. Mechanical and electrical systems, plumbing and safety features also must be installed.
Even as crews are installing these systems, crews will begin the extensive task of testing and commissioning the tunnel to ensure it’s ready for traffic. Inspectors will individually test more than 8,500 separate components before testing each of the tunnel’s various systems as a whole.
“This truly is a remarkable feat of engineering,” Transportation Secretary Roger Millar said. “There’s still work to be done, but the individuals working on this job should be proud of this accomplishment.”
Over the next several years, the City of Seattle’s Waterfront Seattle project will build new public space and a surface boulevard in the place of the double-deck viaduct, which is scheduled for demolition in 2019.
“Today is a major construction milestone in our plan to reclaim Seattle’s waterfront,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said. “We are one step closer to taking down the viaduct to make way for a reimagined waterfront and surrounding downtown neighborhood. We will build a waterfront for pedestrians, transit and sensible car trips without a freeway wall casting a shadow over our vision of a well-connected 21st century city.”
King County Metro will continue to rely on SR 99 to route buses to Seattle after the tunnel opens, said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
“The new tunnel will provide fast, reliable travel for transit and freight past downtown traffic, and reunite the city with its waterfront,” said Constantine. “The breakthrough highlights what we can accomplish when we think big, act boldly, and embrace the ‘can-do’ tradition of our region.”
Port of Seattle Commission Commissioner Courtney Gregoire said the tunnel will work with the new waterfront surface street to accommodate freight traffic.
“This Alaskan Way route is essential to a strong port and linking our industrial lands between SODO and Ballard,” Gregoire said. “Strong, vibrant transportation connections are essential to keep our economy growing and creating middle-class jobs.”
Background on tunneling machine repairs
Manufactured in Japan by Hitachi Zosen Corp., Bertha arrived in Seattle in April 2013. The machine was launched from a pit near the stadiums in July of that year. In December 2013, STP stopped mining after measuring increased temperatures in the machine.
After an investigation, STP discovered damage to the machine’s main bearing. Crews completed repairs and resumed mining in December 2015. The cause of damage to the tunneling machine is in dispute and is currently in litigation. Neither WSDOT nor STP is able to comment further on ongoing legal issues.
1:37 PM: Just in case you were wondering, the machine’s movement is done for the day, by the way, Christopher and other media at the scene were told.
4:08 PM: Pending our “what’s next” second wrapup later today, here’s Christopher’s video of highlights from the breakthrough and the comments afterward, including the governor, mayor, county executive, and others:
More later. WSDOT, meantime, says the livestream camera will be up until 9 tomorrow morning.
The official call has gone out this morning for volunteers to serve on the city’s newly created Renters’ Commission. Here’s the announcement:
Established by ordinance in March, the SRC will advise the City on policies and issues of interest to renters citywide.
The Commission is composed of 15 members – six are appointed by City Council, six are appointed by the Mayor, and one position will be filled by a young adult through the Get Engaged program. Two positions are selected by the SRC once established. Commissioners will serve without compensation.
The SRC will consist of people living in an array of rental housing types, including students, low-income renters, LGBTQ renters, people with past felony convictions, people in subsidized housing, and those who have experienced homelessness. It’s also expected that members be geographically representative of Seattle. SRC meetings will be open to the public.
Those interested in being considered should complete the online application by Monday, May 1 by 5 p.m. If you cannot submit the application online, contact Seferiana Day at 206-684-8806 and an application will be mailed to you, or you can pick one up at the Seattle City Council main office – Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue, 2nd floor, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can also learn more on the Seattle Renters’ Commission’s website.
Thanks to @MetPatrick22 for the first of several views shared of this morning’s glorious sunrise. Besides the imminent Bertha breakthrough – not expected for a few more hours, WSDOT says – here’s what else is notable today:
DINE AT JOE’S, HELP STUDENTS: Dine-out fundraiser all day/night at Endolyne Joe’s (WSB sponsor) for the Alki Elementary PTA. Go for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner! (9261 45th SW)
JOB SEARCH HELP: Looking for work? 2-4 pm, stop by Neighborhood House High Point Center to “work one-on-one with a coach and get help searching for opportunities, filling out applications, creating a cover letter and resume, practicing interview skills and more.” More info in our calendar listing. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)
WESTWOOD-ROXHILL-ARBOR HEIGHTS COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 6:15 pm, Southwest Library. The Delridge RapidRide H Line is the big topic, as previewed here, including mobility issues at the Westwood transit hub and how else this route will deal with the Westwood-Highland Park Urban Village. (35th SW/SW Henderson)
JUNCTION NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATION: 6:30 pm at the Senior Center/Sisson Building. “Green space” issues in The Junction and Triangle will be discussed with city reps. (4217 SW Oregon)
LOTS MORE ON THE CALENDAR … see it here.
7:06 AM: Good morning! No incidents in/from West Seattle so far.
HIGHWAY 99 TUNNELING MACHINE: Still expected to be some hours before the “Bertha breakthrough.” Live-stream camera’s in place here.
8:15 AM: Berthacam is having issues, WSDOT says, but they’re working on it. The roads? Still nothing major.
9:22 AM: Before we move along to the rest of the day … one weekend alert from WSDOT:
DON'T FORGET: EB I-90 traffic will be reduced to 1 lane near Rainier Ave & routed to the express lanes from 11p Friday – 5a Monday. pic.twitter.com/tPVn0cIhv5
— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) April 4, 2017
9:24 AM: And a “Bertha” update – WSDOT says its last push started around 8 am and is “expected to take several hours.”