Party tomorrow, tunnel Monday: Updates as third 99-less week ends

Going to the viaduct/tunnel party tomorrow? Wondering what’s going to happen when the tunnel opens Monday? Here are the updates we have so far:

(WSB photos)

TUNNEL/VIADUCT PARTY: That was Topic A as today’s media briefing convened inside the north entrance to the tunnel. We were late – an hour turned out not to be enough to get from HQ to downtown! – so no video, but lots of info. Here’s the weekend schedule:

*8K fun run/walk that “takes runners through the tunnel, onto the viaduct and back to the Seattle Center via the Battery Street Tunnel,” 7:30-11 am, registration required.
*Tunnel ribbon-cutting, 11:30 am-12:30 pm at South Portal – public access on foot from 1st Ave. S./Royal Brougham
*Tunnel walk, 12:30 pm-6:30 pm from north portal to south portal. Shuttle buses will take you back from south end to north end if you walk the whole way, or you’ll be able to walk up to 900 feet in and turn around. Free tickets required, limited walk-up access but WSDOT says no guarantees.
*Viaduct access including community arts festival, 12:30 pm-6:30 pm, entrances at Battery Street Tunnel and Seneca Street. Free tickets required, limited walk-up access but WSDOT says no guarantees.
(added) *The event website also has info on “hubs” you can access without tickets.

*Tunnel bicycle ride, 8 am, sold out.

HOW TO GET TO SATURDAY’S EVENTS: Transit use is strongly encouraged. Here’s the special this-Saturday-only Water Taxi schedule – no 773/775 shuttle buses, but Metro DOES plan to run the one to and from the free Pier 2 parking lot, which WILL be open. And again, no Water Taxi on Sunday

WHO’S SPEAKING AT SATURDAY’S TUNNEL RIBBONCUTTING: Just in case you’re curious, we got the lineup at today’s briefing. In order:

WSDOT secretary Roger Millar
Muckleshoot Tribe chair Virginia Cross
Suquamish Tribe chair Leonard Forsman
Gov. Jay Inslee
Federal Highway Administration rep Dan Mathis
State Sen. Steve Hobbs
State Rep. Jake Fey
King County Executive Dow Constantine
Port of Seattle Commissioner Peter Steinbrueck
City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw

SO WHAT ABOUT THE TEMPORARY BUS LANE FOR 4TH AVE OFFRAMP? SDOT (whose Heather Marx was at today’s briefing along with Metro’s Terry White, above left, and WSDOT’s Dave Sowers, above right) has reiterated, “The temporary bus-only lane on the Spokane St Viaduct and 4th Ave S will remain in place until the new northbound SR 99 off-ramp to S. Dearborn St opens about one week after the new SR 99 tunnel opens.”

NO NEW ESTIMATE OF HOW SOON THAT LANE WILL OPEN … but remember, for that week or so, if you exit the eastbound bridge for 99, you will HAVE TO use the tunnel because there will be no exit open until its north end. Also a reminder: The tunnel tolls won’t kick in until sometime this summer.

TWO TUNNEL FACTS WE HADN’T HEARD: From WSDOT: “The SR 99 tunnel is the longest road tunnel in the lower 48 states (there is one longer in Alaska) and one of only two singlebored, double-deck tunnels in the world (the other is in Turkey).”

15 Replies to "Party tomorrow, tunnel Monday: Updates as third 99-less week ends"

  • Carol February 1, 2019 (4:15 pm)

    Just don’t understand why they don’t open for traffic on Sunday afternoon.  All the people that want to “drive the tunnel first” are going to mess up the Monday morning commute for the people that are just trying to get to work without getting up at 4 am for the first time in 3 weeks!

    • really? February 1, 2019 (7:54 pm)

      What’s one more day?  Relax.  (and/or consider living closer to work–and yes, it IS an option.  Prove me wrong.)

      • Noteveryoneisyou February 2, 2019 (12:28 am)

        OK, so say let’s say you work downtown.  You’re married with 3 kids.  You bought a house in West Seattle at the bottom of the market in 2012 and that’s the only reason you could afford to buy.  Where do you suggest this person relocate now that’s closer to work?

        • really? February 2, 2019 (11:13 am)

          They need to get up at 4am to get downtown?  From West Seattle?  I guess I’d suggest they take the water taxi.  Any other scenarios?  

          • Noteveryoneisyou February 3, 2019 (1:52 am)

            You said consider living closer to work and prove you wrong, which is what I responded to.   

  • zephyr February 1, 2019 (5:51 pm)

    WSB wrote:  “The temporary bus-only lane on the Spokane St Viaduct and 4th Ave S
    will remain in place until the new northbound SR 99 off-ramp to S. Dearborn St opens about one week after the new SR 99 tunnel opens.
    ” Can you please throw up a link to this location? When I look at a map, Dearborn Street seems to disappear in that area.  Perhaps one of those new aerial videos shows this off-ramp.  I can’t seem to find them at the minute.  I did find this one related image:

  • Todd February 1, 2019 (6:56 pm)

    Agree with Carol, open that tunnel as early as possible.  

  • S - in West Seattle February 2, 2019 (9:42 am)

    Yeah right that bus lane is going to become permanent we all know that. 

    • WSB February 2, 2019 (10:37 am)

      No, actually, it’s not, and that’s been reiterated. We even have it on video.

      • just wondering February 2, 2019 (1:48 pm)

        Just like what Trump says is on video!

        • Michael Taylor-Judd February 4, 2019 (9:50 am)

          Since almost all of the buses from West Seattle will return to their regular routing on 99 Northbound, using the new exit at Dearborn that WSB has covered extensively, why would SDOT continue to maintain that bus lane?SDOT didn’t stripe it just to spite car drivers. They striped it for the last three weeks because it is a more efficient use of our City’s streets. While it’s unfortunate if you are required to drive for your personal needs, keeping buses moving — which are the largest single mode of  transportation for folks commuting to/from Downtown — is a pretty high priority and a wise use of our City’s resources and taxpayer dollars by most people’s standards.

  • zephyr February 2, 2019 (10:18 am)

    WSB wrote:  “That’s because it’s a new street. We’ve published several explainers. The first clip in this story shows it best:…”
    Thanks for doing it one more time.  ;)   I really appreciate it. 
    I am going today with friends from Renton.  We’re taking the light rail in.  It’s going to be a fun day and it wouldn’t have happened without your wonderful reporting on this all along.   We’re excited.    Thanks!.

    • WSB February 2, 2019 (10:33 am)

      Have fun! We are staged on the media riser for the tunnel ribboncutting at the south end (11:30 am), the sun just broke through, walkers/runners are still passing, and it’s already quite festive.

  • dsa February 2, 2019 (4:04 pm)

    Check KINGTV live stream on the viaduct

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