Another peek inside the opening-before-too-long Highway 99 tunnel

(WSDOT photo)

No date set yet for the three-week Highway 99 closure that will precede the tunnel’s opening, but WSDOT is providing another peek inside the almost-ready tunnel today, along with this explanation:

… Crews are using stencils to paint “running man” symbols on walls in both directions of the tunnel.

The green icons are spaced about 50 feet apart on the west walls of the southbound (upper) and northbound (lower) roadways. As shown in the photo, arrows point the way to the nearest exits, along with the distances to them.

If the seven-foot-tall green stick figures don’t get your attention, flashing lights at each of the tunnel’s emergency exits and electronic signs will provide additional guidance.

Crews are also striping the roadway inside the tunnel, according to today’s update from WSDOT, which continues to promise that it will provide at least one month’s notice before the three-week closure, which will be followed by two more weeks of work on the ramp that West Seattleites will use to get into downtown south of the tunnel entrance.

30 Replies to "Another peek inside the opening-before-too-long Highway 99 tunnel"

  • Steve August 21, 2018 (3:33 pm)

    Yea! I get to spend a few hundred extra per year on tolls. Can’t wait 

    • heartless August 21, 2018 (3:52 pm)

      Yes, driving is expensive.  

  • Scott August 21, 2018 (4:08 pm)

    Cant wait for the first break down or accident in that tunnel.  Looks really small hard to get emergency vehicles there. 

    • T August 21, 2018 (11:30 pm)

      It will be just as bad as the viaduct- lucky if it’s cleared in 2 hours. More time if it’s a semi truck (full of seafood in 2 previous incidents).

  • Todd August 21, 2018 (4:20 pm)

    Can’t believe 3 weeks. Frustrating.  Open  both ends quickly, then work on the off ramps at night or on weekends.  

  • ktrapp August 21, 2018 (4:42 pm)

    Any word on how Metro will handle this?  I ride the 21X and occasionally the C, but I don’t think I’ve seen how they’ll reroute during the three weeks (or even going forward).  I didn’t find anything on either the Metro site or the 99 tunnel site.

    • WSB August 21, 2018 (5:07 pm)

      At last word the “transit partners” were still finalizing their plan.

      • Michael Taylor-Judd August 22, 2018 (8:22 am)

        It’s expected to follow previous closures, with buses taking the bus lane to the 4th Avenue exit and following 4th into Downtown. Bus lanes have been extended slightly on 4th Ave. We have asked for added stops at Lander to allow for transfers to light rail if desired during the re-route, but some concern has been raised about adding to the already crowded commute-hour trains at that station.

  • John August 21, 2018 (4:50 pm)

    Any idea why the toll signs are at the tunnel exit?  So you get a nice surprise as you leave?

  • TiredofGovernmentGreed August 21, 2018 (5:14 pm)

    This $3B+ tunnel (not $1.44B as claimed by WSDOT on their south entrance sign) has been known to be coming for years.  Yet WSDOT and Metro bus cannot say when or how the transition to full use will happen?  Another stunning display of local government ineptitude… 

  • GH Person August 21, 2018 (5:52 pm)

    Looking forward to artists adding flames, zombies, and aliens to those stick figures.

  • West Seattle Hipster August 21, 2018 (7:14 pm)

    Just a little bit offended by the term “running man”.  I would prefer “running human” or “person fleeing” instead.Shame on you WSDOT, it is 2018.

    • Delridger August 21, 2018 (7:59 pm)

      WSDOT must read WSB comments. The site now says “Meanwhile, work on another kind of paint job is underway inside the tunnel. Crews are using stencils to paint tall, running stick figures on walls in both directions of the tunnel. “

    • Person of Disbelief August 22, 2018 (12:11 am)

      You forgot “/s”.   At least I hope.  

      • Brayton August 23, 2018 (9:00 pm)

        Either a case of missing /s or Hipster needs to get over itself.

  • WS Commuter August 21, 2018 (8:03 pm)

    In my dreams there would have been protected bike lanes down there, or even just on the existing surface streets.  As it is, I’m too scared of dying under a big rig to ride the 6-mile commute from West Seattle to my job every day.

    • A August 22, 2018 (11:13 am)

      In my dreams all bike lanes would be removed and the lanes of traffic for cars that were taken away would be given back

    • M August 24, 2018 (3:20 pm)

      Oh me too! Nothing like breathing in the carbon monoxide from hundreds of cars crammed into a tunnel while you’re cruising at 20mph huffing your way through a tunnel!the past few days of smoke we’re just the appetizer!

  • KBear August 21, 2018 (8:15 pm)

    Thank God it’s almost finished. Seattlites will find reason to complain about anything. Unfortunately, they’re also huge hypocrites, so my dreams of an unfettered commute will be shattered when all the tunnel haters line up and pay their tolls. 

    • Jon Wright August 21, 2018 (9:15 pm)

      Probably all the same people who said it would never get completed and would be abandoned part way through construction.

  • Mike August 21, 2018 (8:25 pm)

    That can’t be a Seattle tunnel? Where is the graffiti???

  • Mary August 21, 2018 (8:55 pm)

    Staging. It’ll get “flipped” around when it’s closer to tunnel opening time.

  • Canton August 21, 2018 (11:31 pm)

    Talking about road gentrification… Us regular folks get the scraps… Side streets.

  • Greystreet August 22, 2018 (9:53 am)

    I’m thankful I work South and won’t have to navigate this impending nightmare but a friend recently brought to my attention something I hadn’t thought about.  The viaduct expands to 4 lanes on the upper deck and 3 on the lower deck, the tunnel is only 2 lanes in either direction, what is it with Seattle and reducing the # of lanes in an ever-expanding city with no public transit that makes sense unless you live in the downtown corridor.  Oh well, I will just avoid it and take to the ill-taken care of surface streets, let’s just hope the work on 1st through Pioneer Square is done by that time or damn, no one will be moving and you’ll need to leave your house at 2AM to get to work on time by 9…Ugh

    • Tsurly August 22, 2018 (10:36 am)

      You could try riding a bike. The only thing that ever disrupts my commute is the Low bridge opening, which is no more than a few minutes. I doubt my commute will change much when the tunnel opens.

      • CMT August 22, 2018 (12:47 pm)

        I am glad that you have the physical capability, work facilities (for showering and maintaining a non-wrinkled professional change of clothes), and no dependents to transport along the way but sadly, bicycling is not a viable option for many people that have to commute downtown.

        • Tsurly August 22, 2018 (3:28 pm)

          Yes I have the physical capability, as do many others, who just chose not to do it.The shower at my current office is a luxury, but I bike commuted in the past not having access to one. With carefully packing, my business attire (mostly casual, sometimes suite) make it to work wrinkle-free everyday.My kid rides on my bike to and from daycare everyday.So yeah, it’s a viable option, and really not that difficult once you try it.

          • CMT August 22, 2018 (6:33 pm)

            Again, viable for you and maybe for others, although likely not a huge segment of commuters.   Many people have physical and situational limitations that would prohibit them from what you are describing.  I can’t even imagine a single parent with two children biking their kids to school, biking to work, then getting physically ready for the workday (at work) which would require a shower for most people that have to work with others, a change of clothes and, in the case of many females, make-up and hair.  Then, after work, biking home (uphill), picking up kid(s) and immediately taking them to sports or other appointments, going to the grocery store, carting multiple bags and kids, and taking care of the numerous  errands that need to be run on a day to day basis to keep a household running.  I take the bus to work myself and fortunately have a spouse that can do a lot of the errands we need done just to make things work.  There are many others that don’t have that luxury.  It’s great that it works for you but it’s complete fiction that it would even remotely work for a large segment of the population without it being a huge burden.

          • Canton August 22, 2018 (9:40 pm)

            Yeah, it’s completely a situational luxury if you work DT core. I would offer to Tsurly, to bike a day in my shoes. Keep in mind, I walk on average, 15 miles a day while using equipment. If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to get video of that day, as it would be some great comedy. Also, shower would be a hose hanging over a tree branch.

          • Tsurly August 23, 2018 (6:02 am)

            Canton I had this discussion with. You in previous posts. I know a lot of people need to drive. I had to earlier in my career when I did a lot of fieldwork and had hundreds of pounds of equipment required to do my job. I’m not suggesting folks like you should be on bikes.Those that have the luxury of a desk job, flexible work schedules and the means to do so should give alternative forms of transportation a try. So many people bitch about traffic, but don’t offer practical solutions, and scoff at those suggested by others (eg riding a bike to work). 

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