Since opening in December, more than 1,500 people have learned about the future State Route 99 tunnel at Milepost 31, the Washington State Department of Transportation’s new project information center in Pioneer Square. In April, the agency will introduce a new Milepost 31 monthly speaker series to give visitors more insight into this massive project.
The first talk, to be held during Pioneer Square’s First Thursday Art Walk, brings leaders of the SR 99 Tunnel Project to the center to discuss its extreme engineering and the changes coming to SODO, the downtown waterfront and neighborhoods near Seattle Center.
Guest speakers include Linea Laird, WSDOT administrator for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, and Chris Dixon, project manager for WSDOT’s tunnel contractor – Seattle Tunnel Partners.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn exciting details about the SR 99 tunnel. And, after the event, be sure to leave yourself enough time to explore the rest of the First Thursday Art Walk.
Milepost 31 spring speaker series kick-off:
6 to 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 5
211 First Ave. S., Seattle
Admission is free. Milepost 31 remains open until 8 p.m. on First Thursdays.
Save the date for the next installments in the speaker series:
May 3: Tunneling in Seattle – A History of Innovation
Did you know there are more than 100 tunnels beneath Seattle? Join a virtual tour exploring tunnels built during the past century and learn how tunneling technology has advanced.
June 7: Meet the Tunnel Boring Machine
What’s as long as a ferry, five stories tall and weighs 5,500 tons? The SR 99 tunnel boring machine! See how this custom-designed machine will grind through the ground as it builds the SR 99 tunnel beneath downtown.
You can watch the signing streaming live here, courtesy of the Seattle Channel.
If you haven’t been following the Viaduct replacement project news as of late, here’s a quick update. Last month of the companies bidding for a contract to construct the project, WSDOT identified Seattle Tunnel Partners as the best value—with a proposed price of nearly $1.09 billion. From WDOT:
Total cost of the proposed bored tunnel is estimated to be $1.96 billion. This includes design, right-of-way acquisition, construction management, and more than $200 million set aside for risk. Also included in the $1.96 billion are separate, future construction contracts for roadway connections at the north and south ends of the tunnel.
The total cost of the Viaduct replacement project, however, is estimated at a much higher price: $3.1 billion.
Despite the contract signing, the project is no more popular. In a press release sent out today Move Seattle Smarter, a coalition of local organizations working to bring “honesty, transparency and accountability to the funding of this state transportation project,” and protect “Seattle’s priorities from cost overruns,” took a stand against the project.
“The State and Seattle City Council have made it clear that they intend to blindly plow forward no matter the cost,” Move Seattle Smarter spokesperson Drew Paxton said in the statement. “Our elected officials are displaying a blatant disregard for the potentially devastating financial implications of this project. Given the devastating budget cuts that have already occurred at the state level, and the $4.6 billion deficit facing our state in 2011-2013, this is beyond irresponsible, it’s immoral.”
“It’s ironic that WSDOT will sign these contracts at the Port of Seattle Headquarters when the Port still has not presented a plan for how they will fulfill their $300 million commitment to the project. What taxes will they raise? What programs will they cut? It’s astonishing that during these challenging economic times our elected leaders refuse to have an honest and open conversation about something as basic as how they plan to pay for a project with so much risk.”
While Mayor Mike McGinn is admittedly not a fan of the tunnel plan, he maintains that the city is committed to the project, and as the mayor he will work to execute it in the best way possible for the city.
Major transportation changes are heading to SR 99 as the deep-bored tunnel option to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct moves forward.
Late last month, the Federal Highway Administration, Washington State Department of Transportation and the City of Seattle released its Supplement Draft Environmental Impact Statement (.pdf), which analyzes the bored tunnel alternative, the preferred option for replacing the Viaduct. The SDEIS report outlines the project’s effects on transportation and the environment.
At the most recent Ballard District Council meeting WSDOT representative Mike Rigsby outlined the project for the community. Read the full story at our sister site, MyBallard.
Since the deep-bored tunnel will affect Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard, and other north Seattle neighborhoods, we thought we’d keep you abreast of upcoming community meetings regarding the project. This coming Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m., there will be a hearing at Ballard High School, located at 1418 NW 65th St., to discuss the entire project and the SDEIS. The meeting will be open-house style with display boards and staff to answer questions. Attendees will be able to leave make comments. Until then, read more about the project at MyBallard.com.
(Full disclosure: The Federal Highway Administration, Washington State Department of Transportation and the City of Seattle are sponsors of NextDoorMedia, which owns QueenAnneView and sister site MyBallard.)
Queen Anne residents who live near SR-99 are in for a month of ruckus. Planned construction on the Aurora Bridge ‘suicide fence’ will start at 9 p.m. tonight, Monday, April 19 and go until 5 a.m. the following day, Sunday through Thursday, for the next month.
Two lanes of traffic will be closed across the bridge during construction. WSDOT has said the work will be so noisy, they’ve offered free industrial strength earplugs to residents who live nearby. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, you can do so by calling 206-267-6019 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address and number of earplugs needed. Track construction of the nine-foot safety fence through the WSDOT’s project page.
SDOT crews will be closing two of the three southbound lanes and the far left northbound lane of the Viaduct from 6 p.m. tonight, Monday, March 8, to 5 a.m. tomorrow in preparation for building an overhead “sign bridge” that will span the width of southbound SR 99 and hold an electronic message board. Drivers should expect delays at Ward St. just north of the Battery St. Tunnel.
This work is part of the Intelligent Transportation Systems project. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is working in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to bring more real-time traffic information to drivers on SR 99, and major routes leading to SR 99 in Seattle. The electronic message signs will provide drivers with traffic information such as construction closures, lane status and travel times. Six new electronic message signs will be installed on SR 99 from the First Avenue S. Bridge to N. 137th Street.
Installing real-time traffic information systems now will help keep Seattle moving during construction to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct in the near future.
Crews will install the actual sign bridge in the spring.
For more information on the the SR 99 Intelligent Transportation Systems click here.