Alaskan Way Viaduct briefing: Updates as they happen

We’re on the 24th floor of the Wells Fargo Building, aka headquarters of the Alaskan Way Viaduct project, awaiting the briefing on some of the first data from the evaluation of the 8 “scenarios” currently under consideration, as decisionmakers prepare to narrow down the options and take elements of various ones to combine into three “finalists.” We’ll post headlines from the briefing here “live” as they emerge, with a wrapup later. POST-BRIEFING NOTE: Click ahead to see the hour and a half of liveblogging we did while this was still under way:

12:37 PM UPDATE: Briefing has begun. Ron Paananen from WSDOT is starting by recapping some of the work that’s under way now on AWV and Spokane Street. Data from 7 of the 27 performance measures on the 6 guiding principles, says Bob Powers from SDOT. Ron Paananen says re: retrofit re-review, got a letter from the engineer who did that: “Although it’s a limited review, there’s enough information to tell us we made the right decision – further review of retrofit won’t reveal a silver bullet to retrofit at a reasonable cost, 50 percent of a replacement” – so retrofit definitely dead. Paananen says the Miyamoto report did not address cost specifically but said ground work and seawall work NOT optional. “Yes, done,” Paananen says, “retrofit is dead” – says “never say never” but doesn’t see any way this would fit into the guiding principles. 12:49 PM UPDATE: Ron Posthuma from King County says no significant seismic safety difference between all scenarios (all would withstand a 1,000-year earthquake). All three briefers say waterfront streetcar NOT coming back till waterfront replacement for viaduct is built, whatever it is. A First Avenue streetcar MIGHT replace the waterfront – could be more frequent – but they’d have to solve issues of getting people to First more easily. 1:14 PM UPDATE: Paananen says they are likely to narrow down to two or three scenarios around November 20th. Stakeholder meeting for October is canceled because so much data is coming out, pushed back to Nov. 6th. P.S. Twitter feed broken, some weird log-in both for direct access and also widgets so Twitter widget is off this page till it seems fixed. Just in case you wondered! 1:19 PM UPDATE: What if Gov. Gregoire loses, a newspaper reporter asks, since Rossi has said he wants a tunnel? She’s gov till January, it’s noted, and the state is one of three partners, so the process continues. 1:21 PM UPDATE: Paananen reiterates, final solution will probably be some mix-and-match of elements of current scenarios, not exactly like 1 of the current 8. 1:32 PM UPDATE: Cost estimates not out just because it’s taking longer, they reiterate. Also noting that the South End project will take away ALL THAT PARKING under the current Viaduct – “thousands of spaces.” No replacement- no parking structure – some on-street parking will come back when done. Less than 2,000 spaces, actually, says Posthuma. Parking comes into the “economic analysis” performance measure which will have data available November 13th. Will city raise parking rates? Don’t know, says Powers, will find out. Looking at installing parking-guidance system … to let you know where there’s parking. 1:42 PM UPDATE: Now they’re “updating” scenarios E and H, “integrated elevated” with buildings under a new elevated structure, and “lidded trench” type semi-tunnel. Part of E could be retrofittted AWV and Elliott-Western ramps for section by Battery Street Tunnel. 1:54 PM UPDATE: The sketches of scenario E are very dramatic. Elevated roadway would be totally enclosed, looking back at it from waterfront, you wouldn’t know you were looking at a highway. “Raised tunnel,” almost. Two lanes in each direction. This would be coupled with going northbound on Western, southbound on Alaskan Way surface, east of the structure – no road on the west side of the structure. Hope we get electronic copies of this. 2:08 PM UPDATE: Briefing close to wrapping up. Sketches presented of lidded-trench option, showing some treatments of the vents that would be required. Road would be over the lidded trench.

6 Replies to "Alaskan Way Viaduct briefing: Updates as they happen"

  • chas redmond September 25, 2008 (2:32 pm)

    Wondering how this will play out with the state now $3.2B in the hole.

  • WSB September 25, 2008 (2:40 pm)

    I’m going over to the stakeholders meeting for at least the first 1 3/4 hours till I have to leave for 6:30 design review … will be reporting on anything said there too. The “integrated elevated” seems to include some revenue options from building commercial and residential all around the structure, though numbers won’t be offered till those further analyses come out in Nov.

  • Michael September 25, 2008 (3:20 pm)

    LOL at the complaints about parking.

    Now if there were only some kind of people mover, that picked up people near their homes and dropped them off near their work, so they didn’t have to park…oh well, maybe someday rocket scientists will invent such a thing.

    And the Rossi comment made me laugh. “What if Al Franken moves to WA and runs for gov? He might want a tunnel under Elliott Bay! What then?”

  • WSB September 25, 2008 (3:23 pm)

    Well, I guess it’s missing some context. Sitting in briefings with other media reps is always interesting. Some ask lots of questions, some don’t. We usually ask a few. The other point I didn’t really allude to (trying to liveblog, take notes, and send a few Twitter posts simultaneously) was that the briefers (the same three as previous such events, main point people for the project in the “tri-agency” setup) also pointed out, this research is valuable in that they are learning a lot about the regional transportation network, no longer just studying the narrow 99 corridor itself … with between-the-lines reading, this work won’t have been done in naught, no matter what.

  • war September 25, 2008 (3:41 pm)

    What about the Frank Chopp proposal made public

    today. See Crosscut .com.

  • WSB September 25, 2008 (5:32 pm)

    supposedly the “integrated elevated” is similar to something that Chopp supports. will be in wrapups to come. we just got the electronic copies of the presentation made to us earlier this afternoon and will post that separately. at stakeholders’ meeting now though will have to leave in about 15 minutes. they’ve just been told again, the retrofit is toast.

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