Thousands take a last look at southern stretch of The Viaduct

(More photos/video added Sunday night)

Thinking about going over to walk on The Viaduct before its southern mile goes away forever? (Remember, the demolition involves “only” the southern mile, approximately Holgate to King Street – the central section won’t come down until the tunnel’s done, no earlier than end of 2015.) Among those already up there is traffic ace Tracy Taylor from our “Viadoom” coverage partners at KING 5 News, and she’s sending back a stream of photos you can check out here – including the top pic. Also via Twitter, she says it’s not too crowded, and the parking situation is pretty good. It’s open for walking till 12:30 pm – details here – then from 1-2 pm, politicians celebrate in their own way, with the roster including King County Executive (and West Seattleite) Dow Constantine. And if you can’t get there … WSDOT has time-lapse demolition images online.

ADDED 11:38 AM: More of the photos others are sharing – Cara just sent a few, including this:

And from Jodi, her kids Robbie and Cameron:

A different angle. (Every time we walked The Viaduct for Race for the Cure, we thought it was cool to peer down through the “joints,” too!)

ADDED 1:08 PM: Frank shared this photo of Oliver and Maya, with their souvenir:

ADDED 1:56 PM: The Rat City Rollergirls, you’ll recall – who have several West Seattleites in their ranks – co-won the contest for a semi-“private” half-hour on The Viaduct. WSDOT tweeted this photo:

Everybody seems to have their own reason for taking one last look. Viaduct project executive Matt Preedy headed up with his kids Aidan, 10, and Rowan, 6:

And then, once upon the deck, how do you celebrate when a project hits a milestone six months ahead of its original schedule?

Thanks to Fiona Preedy for those photos.

ADDED 7:33 PM: Our partners at the Seattle Times published this video of the Seattle Cossacks motorcycle-stunt team, the other “co-winners” of the Viaduct-access contest:

9:56 PM UPDATE: Also from the Times, here’s today’s wrapup from transportation reporter Mike Lindblom, who was reporting live via Twitter during today’s event. WSDOT estimated the number of Viaduct visitors at 3,200. Meantime, more photos from WSB’ers:

That’s from Rob A. Johnston of Walkabout Wolf Photography. And Renee sent this photo of son Oliver with an explanatory sign:

ADDED SUNDAY NIGHT: Cathy Doser of Renton shared these two views, in a different vein of VIaduct nostalgia – first one from 1989 (note the Kingdome!), second one more recent:

And on Sunday, Liesbet T was one of the last people to leave:

WSDOT shared this photo of a Viaduct visitor who traveled in style:

Still adding photos – do YOU have one to share?

33 Replies to "Thousands take a last look at southern stretch of The Viaduct"

  • Scandinavian October 22, 2011 (11:03 am)

    I hope SDOT gets their West Seattle Bridge traffic cameras working by Monday. Most seem to have quit at 07:06 this Saturday morning.

  • Jiggers October 22, 2011 (11:46 am)

    Just like when the iconic Kingdome came down, the Viaduct served its purpose. Even though we need new infrastructure built, I am against building the tunnel.

  • old commuter October 22, 2011 (12:00 pm)

    Really, the city/state wasted our money on a sign thanking an inanimate object.

  • Scandinavian October 22, 2011 (12:28 pm)

    Great, I see it is working now and not looking too bad.

  • westseattledood October 22, 2011 (1:01 pm)

    old commuter –

    maybe so, but maybe not. That inanimate object has played a huge role in the transport of goods in and out of one of the most vital ports in the country! The Port of Seattle created international commerce for this city, this state and the nation. The Port isn’t just about ships and boats. And the viaduct isn’t just about West Seattlelites. It’s about daily trucks moving products to and from the Port by accessing the viaduct for points beyond throughout the entire country and the world.

  • vicki October 22, 2011 (1:12 pm)

    Watching the news this morning with the equipment at work, cement crumbling, I was surprised at the emotional response I had. It was about my Grandmother. We lived in Burien and drove every Sunday to my Grandmother’s house in Wallingford where my Dad grew up, using the best available route, 1st ave south.This preceeded the viaduct. my folks in trying to keep me occupied on the way home…I did not like leaving to go home…we played “I spy”. All along First Ave in downtown Seattle were fire boxes with phones I think, and they had red glowing balls on them that we could see for several blocks. So the first one to see the red ball would cry “I spy”…
    Then came the viaduct in ’53. Our trip now was more fun, the view was wonderful, watching the ferries (the very distinctive and shiny Kalakala especially) floating across the bay. The viaduct was my personal road direct to Grandma! Wonderful.
    She died in ’64 but those memories are deeply embedded in my core and today, the viaduct starting to come down, a big personal loss for me.

  • KD October 22, 2011 (1:35 pm)

    Hey, since there was a planned party for today; before demolition, how about a party AFTER the 9 days of survival? That’s when we should party! Seriously, plan some joyful fun on this side of the Duwamish and really promote all the WSea. Businesses inviting the rest of the region to come on over and celebrate with us. Cute and funny titles can be advertised on our “ViaDoom”‘survival. We all know in 9 days we will want to give ourselves some kind of pat on the back. I want to party when it’s over! ( I drive Metro Bus also… I will be going through twice the “ViaDoom!!”)

  • Diane October 22, 2011 (1:53 pm)

    up-to-date photos of our bridge, 99, sodo, 5, 90, 520, provided by westseattleblogger couple weeks ago (I don’t recall name, but fortunately I saved the link) love this:
    the only camera that seems to be frozen on late last night is 99/Lander; I wish they would fix so we can watch demo via camera

  • MrAlki October 22, 2011 (2:57 pm)

    I can’t seem to find anywhere how they are going to reopen in 9 days when they are tearing it down? What will the new configuration look like?

  • newnative October 22, 2011 (3:03 pm)

    I appreciate the history being shared. I have only been here two years so I’ve been wondering what the big deal was. I live, work, shop, eat, drink, and date all in West Seattle. I hate the viaduct and will hate the tunnel even more. I’m a pedestrian. The City is for field trips best enjoyed by bus or water taxi.

  • MrAlki October 22, 2011 (3:33 pm)

    Thanks WSB…Don’t know how I missed all this

  • ad October 22, 2011 (4:29 pm)

    Goodbye Viaduct, I will miss you (specifically the view, not the worrying about dying during an earthquake).

  • amom October 22, 2011 (4:38 pm)

    Going to miss seeing the city from the view only that you can only get from atop 99. Can’t believe that there will be no exits for downtown. So, so stupid.

  • JoAnne October 22, 2011 (5:07 pm)

    The busybodies have been after our viaduct for years. Well today they finally got it. I hope they’re satisfied.

  • old commuter October 22, 2011 (7:03 pm)

    @w.s.dood,you do not get it! taxpayers $ wasted.
    the politicos thanked cement —-not the industries involved.

  • Paul October 22, 2011 (7:22 pm)

    A photosynth of the view from the viaduct:

    • WSB October 22, 2011 (7:49 pm)

      Paul – thanks. That link sent me to a sign-in screen; is there a publicly accessible version? – TR

  • Kelly October 22, 2011 (8:09 pm)

    SO happy to see any part of the viaduct go. It has none of the sentimental value for me that the Kingdome had. Having worked within a block of its grit and noise for a decade, I give it a hearty good riddance.

    The only souvenir I want is one of those signs that used to be on most of the columns erroneously stating “No Dumping Whatever”.

  • Viaduct Fan October 22, 2011 (8:10 pm)

    The removal of the Viaduct has begun. Yes, I’m sad to see it go, but I understand we needed a safer transportation alternative.

    However, no matter if you loved or hated the thing — it was a Seattle icon. No, not as beautiful as the Space Needle, the Monorail, or a Boeing jetliner. But it was “Seattle” nonetheless. Yeah, it’s an inanimate object, but so is the house we all grew up in. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an attachment to it.

    I’m sure nearly everyone in Seattle has at least one story about the Viaduct. A breakdown, getting stuck in the snow, missing a ferry, heading to a home ball game or the summertime smell of food from the waterfront when heading southbound. Soon, the work of thousands and the carrier of millions will fade into history. That doesn’t mean we can’t each appreciate it for what it was — to each of us. :-)

  • metrognome October 22, 2011 (8:29 pm)

    for a brief history of the viaduct construction, see this HistoryLink article:
    for a more comprehensive history, see this Library of Congress entry:
    and, yes, Joanne, I am satisfied. Thanks for asking.

  • DM October 22, 2011 (9:25 pm)

    I had a great time this morning, walking on the upper deck. Everyone was extraordinarilly chatty. AND, it was major fun to watch the Rat City Roller Girls and The Seattle Cossacks roll down the ramp! A unique day in Seattle, so glad I was there to witness!

  • Been There October 22, 2011 (9:31 pm)

    Sad to see it start to go away…..

  • TD October 22, 2011 (9:48 pm)

    Seriously, does anyone know how much that huge sign cost? It had to be a couple of thousand dollars, right?
    In this economy, how is this justified?
    Aren’t teachers losing jobs? WTF is going on here?

  • DM October 22, 2011 (10:29 pm)

    To “Been There”: It IS sad to see it go away. I’ve driven on the Viaduct most every day for the past 30 years. I never take that incredible view for granted when I drive on it, and the Viaduct has always seemed to me like the sane route through town. I have a lot of history with that big gray structure and I WILL miss it…I thought today was a sweet send off for the southern half. It reminded me of “old” Seattle. And the folks who collected on the upper deck today, who were so chatty, reminded me of old Seattle. I found it reassuring.

  • blueemerald October 23, 2011 (3:25 am)

    I’m a sucker for nostalgia. I’ve been a driver (and passenger) on the Viaduct for many years through the various seasons, weathers, time of day/night, and traffic. I often selected the Viaduct as my preferred route because of the sights, sounds, and smells unique to that drive. There are many things I shall remember:

    In the summertime the smell of fish-n-chips and creosote, seeing swarms of people along the water front, seeing the big screen at an open-roof ball game, the sight of a clipper ship under full sail (or Navy ship or cruise ship) coming into the Bay, the startle of an unexpected ferry horn sounding when sitting stuck in traffic.
    On dark early mornings the surprise of the illuminated multi-floor red heart on the WaMu building Valentine’s day 2007 (WSB, white twinkly holiday lights on the trees along the Pike Place Stairclimb, a fleeting glimpse of the Bon (Macy) star, the bright island of activity of the ferries bobbing on the water, a closer view of the “globe” atop the Smith Tower.

    And the stunning view of Mt. Rainier as I drove out of the Battery Street Tunnel and southbound.

  • blueemerald October 23, 2011 (3:27 am)

    These photos are great! Thanks for sharing.

  • redblack October 23, 2011 (7:17 am)

    i’d be interested in seeing how many rats fled the area when the breaking started.
    when i worked on the stadium exhibition center, we parked in the lot across first ave from where silver cloud is now, behind that building that was once slated to become a public market of some kind. every morning, as my headlights swept the fence line, the area under the viaduct moved with hundreds of rodent bodies.
    the sad part was the human bodies sleeping not too far away.
    i can’t say that i’ll miss that part.

  • steve rodrigues October 23, 2011 (7:56 am)

    There was never a more vital historic treasure that ever measured the Southern Seattle water front than that given to millions of hearts and souls than the MV Kalakala. The State has failed to protect our entire historic waterfront. It is now all gone and they deserve to be discredited for destroying all physical significant history. The Kalakala has survived all the States efforts, and she is no longer playing political games. She is now becoming beautiful one day at a time. No State laws can stop her from being preserved from now on. She is a national treasure beyond measures.

  • patt October 23, 2011 (11:21 am)

    Goodbye Viaduct.
    My dad and a lot of unsung workers built the Viaduct.
    He and they, worked on the Space Needle.
    And he “walked through the walls” of most of the building built between 1949 and 1975.

    Thank-you, to him and all the strong Union people
    (esp. Ironworkers Local 86)
    that made our city.

  • Cathy Doser October 24, 2011 (12:30 am)

    I left a couple of great pictures for the editors! I hope they get posted, to help us remember what the Viaduct was about!

  • Beth October 24, 2011 (9:05 am)

    So sorry to see the Big V go. It’s almost like selling your first car, just remembering all the times you had together, :) most especially in past few years when commuting became a much slower process.

    Big V you were there for us and we will miss you. Not so sure about your replacement Mr. T; the jury is out on that one.

  • Cathy Doser October 28, 2011 (11:18 am)

    I’m not sad to see the Viaduct go, in the big sense. It was a blight on our waterfront, and our city’s visage.
    It was certainly a thrill, to be able to drive, and see, the waterfront from that viewpoint, but, for me, it was not worth what it did to cover our view of our beautiful city.

Sorry, comment time is over.