BYE-A-DUCT: Contractor chosen for Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition

(WSDOT photo: Surface Alaskan Way under construction)

The Highway 99 Tunnel could be open – and The Viaduct permanently closed – in a matter of months. Then it’ll be teardown time, and WSDOT has announced its chosen contractor:

The demolition of Seattle’s aging Alaskan Way Viaduct is finally in view.

Today, May 16, the Washington State Department of Transportation selected Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. to demolish the viaduct, decommission the Battery Street Tunnel, and reconnect city surface streets just north of the nearly complete State Route 99 tunnel.

The design-build contract, which requires the contractor provide both design and construction services of the job, is valued at $93.7 million. Kiewit submitted the ‘apparent best value’ bid – a combination of points received for their technical proposal and their price.

“We are excited to be so close to removing the seismically vulnerable viaduct and ushering in a new era on Seattle’s waterfront,” said Brian Nielsen, WSDOT’s Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program Administrator. “It will be challenging to tear down a major highway in the heart of a booming city but we’re looking forward to getting it done safely and as quickly as possible.”

Timelines for the work will emerge after the contract is finalized and the contractor receives approval to begin design work. After that point, WSDOT will be able to share more specifics about how demolition and decommissioning will proceed.

What’s ahead this year:

· Based on the tunnel contractor’s current schedule, WSDOT anticipates the new SR 99 tunnel could open as soon as this fall.

· By then, the temporary Alaskan Way surface street will move west of the viaduct with two lanes open in each direction along Seattle’s waterfront.

· Before the tunnel opens, WSDOT must permanently close the Alaskan Way Viaduct to realign SR 99 and the ramps at the tunnel portals.

· After the viaduct permanently closes, contractors could begin limited demolition work in late 2018.

Future work:

· The majority of viaduct demolition work will occur in 2019.

· It will take up to two years to remove equipment and fill in the Battery Street Tunnel. During this time, there will also be utility improvements made along Battery Street.

· Thomas and John streets will be reconnected over three blocks of a rebuilt Aurora Avenue North. This picture shows the final street grid.

29 Replies to "BYE-A-DUCT: Contractor chosen for Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition"

  • Susan May 16, 2018 (3:20 pm)

    WSB- Question if you know… any idea yet about when the viaduct/transition will take place with the 2-3 week closure? Any idea of when 99 will close or even when they are supposed to announce the timing of the closure? Thank you

  • John May 16, 2018 (3:46 pm)

    How over budget will this go? And how much will The “Peoples” Republic of Seattle extort from the citizens?!

  • valvashon May 16, 2018 (4:20 pm)

    Don’t fill in the Battery Street Tunnel!  Leave it as a cool way to connect Belltown with the South Lake Union area.  Can’t believe that they are planning on filling it in.

  • Ron Swanson May 16, 2018 (4:44 pm)

    Hopefully they open it up to pedestrians one last time before bringing in the demo equipment.

    • WSB May 16, 2018 (5:47 pm)

      Well, if you’re a runner, you can run in the Torchlight Run before the Seafair parade … but WSDOT did say they expect to have some farewell events. I haven’t been on it since the Race for the Cure moved off the Viaduct a few years back.

  • Vilagegrern May 16, 2018 (5:04 pm)

    The tunnel will never be completed! Seattle is run by idiots! 

    • WSB May 16, 2018 (5:49 pm)

      Yeah, I really should build a retrospective look at “the tunnel will never be finished” comments. But once it got stuck, you have to admit, things looked pretty dire for a while.

      • cjboffoli May 16, 2018 (6:28 pm)

        Funny how all of the naysayers quieted when they resumed digging and made huge progress from week to week.

  • MJ May 16, 2018 (5:29 pm)

    A summertime closure would be better, bike riding can be option during nice weather and schools are not in session.

  • contractor joe May 16, 2018 (5:48 pm)

    $93.7M?   I’ll do it for half of that!  I have a wheelbarrow, sledge hammer and a truck! Might take a bit longer, but think of the tax savings!   

    • M May 16, 2018 (6:11 pm)

      That’s only about the price of a few miles of bike lanes. 

  • Jort May 16, 2018 (6:40 pm)

    Many people in Seattle went apoplectic with rage when it was reported that the 2nd Avenue bike lane downtown cost $12 million per mile. This was supposedly an insane, enormous, catastrophic waste of money, perhaps the prime example of government spending run foolishly amok.

    The viaduct demolition will cost almost four times as much, at $44.6 million per mile. That’s DEMOLITION, not construction.

    I guess it’s OK when we waste money on cars. Maybe that’s it.

    • Question Authority May 16, 2018 (7:41 pm)

      There’s quite a bit of difference between retrofitting established roadway for a narrow bike lane and demolishing a double decked rebar reinforced multi lane structure but you don’t seem to comprehend that notion. 

      • sam-c May 17, 2018 (10:22 am)

        QA, thank you for pointing out (what SHOULD be) the obvious.    But, sure, let’s turn everything into a car vs. bikes debate. It’s the Seattle, er, Jort way

    • Um, no! May 17, 2018 (9:27 am)

      I drive 2nd Ave Monday through Friday during rush hours.  I see maybe 5 or 6 bikes a day during my commute from about the Needle to Columbia  using this “bike lane”.    Clearly, money well spent!   

      • Tsurly May 17, 2018 (1:47 pm)

         Assuming that your commute is from near the Space Needle to Columbia St (to get on 99), that is about 1.5 miles and can take you anywhere from 10 to 30 mins in traffic.

        The average hourly rate thus far in 2018 for bike usage on the 2nd Avenue Bike Lane at 5 PM is about 120 bikes per hour.

        Given the 10 to 30 mins it takes for you to drive down 2nd, you should see between 20-60 bikes. Clearly you should have your eyes checked.

         When the Viaduct comes down and your car commute becomes expontentially worse, I will be sure to give you a friendly wave from the 2nd Ave. bike lane as I cruise by! 



        • Um, No! May 18, 2018 (7:55 am)

          Sorry, my eyes don’t lie.    Sdot’s data?   I doubt they would ever fudge the numbers to justify the millions spent.  Nah! 

           I’ve never seen anywhere near the numbers they are claiming.  Again, I drive this every week day.   On a good day,  I might see 10 to 15 but that is the exception and a rarity. 

          Please do waive at me on 2nd.  Later, as you’re passing my house in WS,  please stop buy for a steak I’ll be grilling on my deck and a cold beer by the time you actually get there. 

          And, even if those numbers are true,  it’s still a huge waste of money for such a small overall number of people riding down 2nd.  $24 Million to move a few hundred people a day?   Makes total sense.  Or not. 

          • Tsurly May 18, 2018 (11:07 am)

             Claiming SDOT is fudging data is a strong accusation, any actual proof of that?

            I seriously doubt you get home any faster than me in peak traffic. Its about 30 minutes door to door for my 8.5 mile ride, and that will not change after the Viaduct comes down. Cant say the same for you.

             You can whine about the costs of the 2nd Ave bike lane all you want, but bike infrastructure is a priority in this city and that is not changing.


  • Dunno May 16, 2018 (8:17 pm)

    How much do we spend to build tunnel’s?   How much to save the Battery street tunnel?   Bus transit is about the be kicked out of the 3rd ave tunnel.  It makes to much sense I guess to at least save half the Battery street tunnel for buses?   Don’t get it?   Maybe the other half for bikes…That would make many happy on this blog!  Has to be transit money somewhere to pay for it and we could have a breathing tax too, to help pay.  Arm and a leg tax might work as well!

  • K. Davis May 16, 2018 (10:05 pm)

    @Dunno … please grasp the facts.  The Battery St. tunnel has to be connected to something – and the south end (thankfully!!!) is the viaduct which will be demolished before an earthquake brings it down.  Did you think pixie dust and wishes would allow buses to continue to run through it, flying through the air?  

    @Jort … likewise, let’s deal in reality.  You obviously don’t understand that demolishing a double deck highway in the middle of the waterfront in a way that doesn’t damage adjacent buildings can’t possibly be compared to building a bike lane.  I assume you must be a pro-bike lane guy (and fine – good for you).  Learn some facts before popping off, I’d suggest

  • Linda May 16, 2018 (11:34 pm)

    Any info from Metro on how the buses that currently exit on Seneca will be routed once the tunnel is open?

    • Elton May 17, 2018 (9:51 am)

      +1 on this question. Is the C going to use that 4-lane Alaskan Way surface street?

  • West Sea Neighbor May 17, 2018 (6:55 am)

    I ride a bike to work in Interbay every day  via Alaskan Way (under the viaduct). How can I find out if there will be any cycling facilities (even just “sharrows”) on the temporary Alaskan Way?

  • Dustin May 17, 2018 (10:12 am)

    I don’t quote connect with the proposal to convert the Battery St tunnel into a park, though I could see it being thoughtfully repurposed as a pass-through for bikes or transit. Regardless of any debate around whether the tunnel should be repurposed, I think it’s short-sighted to fill the space with debris from the viaduct demolition. While doing so will save money now, eventually there will be a new project or improvement work to be done around Battery St, and to no one’s surprise, there will be tons of debris from the old viaduct in the way. Then it will need to be moved again, at greater expense. I think we should save ourselves the trouble and remove it properly now.

  • My two cents ... May 17, 2018 (12:06 pm)

    Re: Battery Street Tunnel (via WSDOT):

    • The Battery Street Tunnel was constructed in the 1950s and is at the end of its useful life. WSDOT’s final environmental document for the program included decommissioning (filling and sealing) the tunnel, and so WSDOT has a legal obligation to implement that plan.
      Community ideas have been proposed for alternative uses for the tunnel. However, given the age and condition of the structure, it would need significant and costly structural and system upgrades in order to be safe for other uses. WSDOT will be decommissioning the tunnel as part of a design-build contract that also includes demolishing the viaduct and connecting surface streets at the tunnel’s north portal.

  • just wondering May 17, 2018 (12:56 pm)

    I have a small piece of concrete from the Kingdome that they gave away after its demolition.

    Will a piece of the viaduct be available?

  • George May 18, 2018 (5:54 am)

    “Apparent Best Value” is a scam. It should be called “Throw the contract to whoever gives you the biggest bag of cash”. Whatever happened to awarding it to the lowest bidder?

    • Michael A May 18, 2018 (9:46 am)

      Because sometimes you get what you pay for.

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