WSDOT says south-end 99 work will be done, early, this fall

(WSDOT photo of the new 99 bridge-in-progress, taken last month)
If you drive 99 from the West Seattle Bridge to downtown, you’ve noticed that the eastern elevated section of the highway, south of the remaining Alaskan Way Viaduct, is taking shape fast. Once it’s done, that new bridge will carry the northbound 99 traffic, while its semi-twin, which has carried both directions since last year, will be the southbound-only side. This morning, WSDOT announced that the new bridge will be done this fall, with the entire south end demolition/construction project complete “one year ahead of schedule and on budget.” Read on for the announcement:

The southern half of Seattle’s State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct is gone, a vanishing act performed by demolition crews last fall about six months ahead of schedule. Now comes the encore: completion this fall of the new SR 99 south of downtown.

The Washington State Department of Transportation announced today that a $114.6 million contract to build the new SR 99 roadway near Seattle’s stadiums – known as the South Holgate Street to South King Street project – will be completed one year ahead of schedule and on budget.

“In a little more than two years, our construction crews have replaced a mile of busy highway in our largest city and removed a significant section of the seismically vulnerable viaduct,” Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said. “We’re making good on our commitment to Washington taxpayers for quality project delivery.”

Crews are putting the finishing touches on the second of two side-by-side bridges, which will eventually connect to the SR 99 tunnel. When complete, expected this fall, the east bridge will carry northbound SR 99 traffic with southbound traffic remaining on the west bridge.

The new bridges will provide drivers with three lanes in each direction. A temporary construction bypass connects the new roadway to the remaining viaduct along the downtown waterfront. The bypass will stay in effect until the SR 99 tunnel opens in late 2015.

More savings on the way
The early-completion announcement follows WSDOT’s recent award of a construction contract for a new overpass at South Atlantic Street that will allow freight and other traffic to bypass a busy train track. Atkinson Construction bid $29.4 million to build the overpass, $6.2 million under WSDOT’s estimate. Construction will start next month, just as work on the new SR 99 bridges wraps up. The new overpass, part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, is scheduled to open by December 2013.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” said Matt Preedy, deputy administrator for the WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. “Finishing the SR 99 bridges early not only saves time and money, it gives the adjacent Atlantic Street overpass and tunnel contractors more elbow room to efficiently complete their work.”

Preedy said the success of the current south-end work is due to the can-do partnership between WSDOT and its contractor, Skanska USA. WSDOT set high expectations for the project and Skanska delivered, Preedy said, noting that strong communications, coordination and cooperation with project partners and neighbors were also key.

In June of last year, WSDOT had declared the project to be 6 months ahead of schedule.

18 Replies to "WSDOT says south-end 99 work will be done, early, this fall "

  • k July 17, 2012 (10:09 am)

    Now if we could just get the 1st Ave onramp completed….

    • WSB July 17, 2012 (10:14 am)

      Early September is still the projection on that, per SDOT …

  • miws July 17, 2012 (10:23 am)

    At first glance, that image reminded me of the construction of the Jeanette Williams Memorial (West Seattle high-level) Bridge, underway 30?!?!! years ago!



  • Mel July 17, 2012 (10:47 am)

    My prediction: the citizenry reads this and either immediately forgets it or complains about something else.
    On the other hand, if it had been six months late, people would be griping and holding it over WSDOT’s head for years.

  • Jun-jun July 17, 2012 (11:14 am)

    Thats exactly what I thought, it looks very similar to the eastbound lanes of the Jeanette Williams West Seattle Bridge.

  • a July 17, 2012 (11:41 am)

    Does this mean they are gonna expand the lower portion of the viaduct back to 3 lanes as well? Please tell me traffic is gonna get better somewhere in this city!

  • RobertSeattle July 17, 2012 (11:43 am)

    Great work but would like a little more specificity than “Fall”… :-)

  • bada-bing July 17, 2012 (12:15 pm)

    I’m curious what sort of bonus the contractor will collect for finishing the project ahead of schedule, and how much of the savings they will share with WSDOT.

  • ta July 17, 2012 (12:15 pm)

    This is fabulous news! WSB, do you know if we will still have that sharp turn near the stadiums that takes us down to 25 mph? That really clogs the traffic up. I couldn’t find that information on WSDOT site.

  • junctioneer July 17, 2012 (12:22 pm)

    One year ahead of schedule? How is that possible? I can’t imagine how much time they buffered into their estimate. Of course, I appreciate the over-estimation of time rather than under-estimation. More, please.

  • Chad Maglaque, Alki July 17, 2012 (1:07 pm)

    spot on Mel. and no one does it better than West Seattleites…

  • NeoYogi July 17, 2012 (1:26 pm)

    Yay! All of these changes are very exciting. It’s hard to believe we’re already 2 years into this…

  • Moe July 17, 2012 (1:58 pm)

    ta, I’m pretty sure the sharp turn where the bypass starts will remain. I’m curious to know if the northbound bus lane will disappear and all three lanes will be available to general traffic up all the way to where the road changes to two lanes after crossing the new bridge. At least that would eliminate the merge for traffic coming from the WSB. Either way, there will still be a bottleneck where they bypass starts.

  • NotMe July 17, 2012 (2:54 pm)

    That’s amazing. I hope the tunnel goes well just like this project.

  • Harold Reems July 17, 2012 (6:56 pm)

    Quite the difference between WSDOT and SDOT. I would love to see a dedicated bus lane in each direction on this road.

  • denise July 17, 2012 (8:14 pm)

    Why has all work stopped on road from WS bridge to I-5?? Is this the September date. WHY??

  • WS commuter July 18, 2012 (2:07 pm)


    The concrete is curing. It takes time. Can’t work during that time.

    • WSB July 18, 2012 (3:27 pm)

      SDOT’s Paul Elliott, communications point person on the project, took our question to project manager Stuart Goldsmith: “I just spoke with Stuart about how things are currently playing out on the project. He said that while we still have some significant project elements yet to complete, much at this point are smaller items that don’t necessarily require large construction crews or which have high visibility to passing motorists. He said many of the smaller details are at both the east and west ends of the project, although we still have some substantial work yet to be completed on the center barrier. The other major element to complete will be repaving the southern segment of the intersection at First and Spokane.” – TR

Sorry, comment time is over.