A significant thoroughfare for commuters along downtown Seattle’s waterfront is set to shut down for great Friday, ushering in what officials say will be one of the very painful traffic periods on the history of the flourishing Pacific Northwest city.
The double decker, 2.2 mile Alaskan Way Viaduct, which includes about 90, 000 vehicles every day, will be replaced with a brand new four lane tunnel.
However, the tunnel won’t start until about three months following the viaduct closes as employees realign the street into it. A Lange of other construction jobs will further constrain traffic from the hilly city encompassed by water, already famous for its population increase and traffic woes.
Washington’s transportation agency on its own web site has a clock counting down to the viaduct closure, which it says will be the longest leading highway closure the Puget Sound area has ever seen.
The week’s long period between the viaduct’s closures, scheduled for 10 p.m. PST Friday, along with the state Route 99 tunnel opening is already being dubbed the Seattle Squeeze, according to Heather Marx, director of Downtown Mobility to the Seattle Department of Transportation.
Tad Donaghe, of West Seattle, generally travels by bus to his downtown job at Nordstrom, but has worked out an alternate route between light rail and water taxi cab to avert the expected crush of drivers switching to buses throughout the closure.
Donaghe told The Associated Press which route was relatively beautiful, and though it is going to cost more and might take more time compared to 80 minutes it took Monday; his employer pays for his sanity he doesn’t mind.
Regardless of what, it was simpler than when I had driven home, Donaghe explained. I stop driving for a sail because mass transit is significantly less stressful.
The increase of technology giant Amazon and a population boom has spawned a lot of construction in the Seattle area lately with new home, light rail expansion and infrastructure development already straining commuters patience. After the tunnel opens, taking away the viaduct will take months, and this will be followed by the introduction of a brand new downtown waterfront area large private endeavours also from the town’s core includes the renovation of a sports arena which will host professional baseball and also an accession to the Washington State Convention Center.
We have added 85, 000 new folks to the county in only the last two decades, therefore these are the types of public spaces and destinations and freedom we need to encourage our growing region, Meghan Shepard, with Seattle’s Transportation Department, stated in a town video posted on YouTube.
The viaduct was built in 1953 and weakened by the 2001 earthquake. Whilst it has been repaired and strengthened, the aging roadway remained exposed to earthquakes. City and State Officers and others fought for decades on how best to replace it, with the cycle plan, now estimated at $3.3 billion, chosen by former Gov. Chris Gregoire and state lawmakers from the year 2009.
The tube, made to withstand roughly a magnitude 9 earth quake off the shore of Washington State. is set to open three years behind schedule. Lawsuits involving Seattle Tunnel Partners, its insurance companies and the state transportation agency over delays and cost overruns are expected to play out for years.
“This is just going to be a time where people who have flexibility to work from home or to take the bus outside of peak times, this is when those choices are going to make a difference for other people who don’t have that flexibility,” Marx said. “If we’re all paying attention to how much space we’re taking up and making those decisions