Alaskan Way viaduct

West Seattle Blog

For anyone who thought they were anonymous driving the city streets of Seattle, the truth is you’re being watched.

And while this might normally be upsetting, the all-seeing cameras positioned over freeways, bridges and intersections may soon be a lifeline during the impending nine-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

It’ll be the longest full closure of a Seattle area highway the region’s ever dealt with. In less than two weeks, demolition begins on the south end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Several miles of State Route 99 will be closed for nine days starting Oct 21st. 

The state says all commuters will be affected – but none more than those near West Seattle.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Construction of a shiny, new high rise is underway in Seattle’s oldest neighborhood. Residents, elected officials and the developer ushered in the Pioneer Square project they say will bring big changes to the entire city.

While one new building on the outskirts of downtown doesn’t seem like cause for a big to-do, King County’s executive, a couple of councilmembers and a former mayor all came out to the ground breaking. 

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

A plan to use public transit to offset traffic congestion while the new Highway 99 tunnel is built in Seattle is expected to run out of money – long before the project is completed.


It’s the beginning of the end for the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Demolition work will shut down the double-decker highway for 9 days about two months from now, from October 21 – 31. According the state Department of Transportation, it’s the longest full closure of a Seattle area highway the city’s ever dealt with.

SEATTLE — The Transportation Department is holding a news conference Monday in Seattle to announce plans to shut down the Alaskan Way Viaduct for nine days in October.

The Federal Highway Administration has approved plans to replace the State Route 99 viaduct through downtown Seattle with a tunnel.


The results are in for the primary election and the majority of Seattle voters have given the go-ahead to a tunnel that would replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct along the city's waterfront. Nearly 60% of the voters said yes – bringing over a decade of debate to a close.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

At a rally in downtown Seattle late this afternoon roughly 60 protesters marched on city hall to show their opposition to the waterfront tunnel scheduled to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The protestors carried a 25-foot replica of what they said represented the “monster tunnel that eats money.”

A smaller group of tunnel supporters also showed up with props to argue that killing the tunnel would cause too much congestion.


If you question whether the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle should be replaced with a deep-bore tunnel, a trip to Madrid, Spain, could clear up some uncertainties. That’s all Governor Chris Gregoire said it took to confirm her decision.

Seattle voters will have a chance to chime in again on the planned deep-bore tunnel that's supposed to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. 

That's the word from Judge Laura Middaugh who this afternoon sided with the supporters of a referendum, saying  her goal is to make sure that the voices of the people are heard when a policy decision is made.  She said she had not been able to find any precedents in case law to support her stance.

Image by James Corner Field Operations, courtesy of the City of Seattle, 2011

Hundreds of people packed into a waterfront auditorium last night (Thurs.) in Seattle. They came to see concepts of what the city might look like, once the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down.

James Corner Field Operations

Soon, the public will have an opportunity to see some initial ideas for what Seattle’s waterfront could look like after the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down. The city plans to redevelop 26 blocks along Elliott Bay between King Street and Broad Street.

Designers from James Corner Field Operations will present preliminary concepts and ask for input tonight at Bell Harbor Conference Center on Pier 66.  

A vote on whether to build a tunnel to replace the aging Alaskan Way viaduct can take place, a King County Judge ruled today (Friday).

King County Superior Court Judge Laura Middaugh said some parts of the agreements that cover utilities, insurance, right-of-way and other issues can be in the referendum but others can't. She'll hear arguments next Friday on which parts could be included in an August vote and whether she has the authority to partially rewrite language in the referendum.


Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has filed a legal challenge to a citizen referendum on Seattle's proposed deep-bore waterfront tunnel.

Holmes has asked a judge to rule on whether the construction agreements between the city and the state that targeted by the referendum are “administrative actions” which can't be overturned by the vote. 


Opponents of the tunnel proposed to replace Seattle’s aging Alaskan Way Viaduct say they’ve gathered more than enough signatures to force a public vote. But a new poll suggests that won’t settle the contentious issue. 


Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Boeing Plant Still Closed After Power Outage
  • Seattle Tunnel Opponents Up Against Deadline
  • State Will Fix Perilous Part of Highway 2 in Snohomish County


Auburn's First and Second Shift Shut Down Today

Transformers failed at Boeing's Auburn plant on Saturday, forcing an evacuation, and canceling work for thousands of workers Monday


Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has been calling for a closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct as soon as possible.  That's because it's an earthquake hazard.  Other leaders think that's an over-reaction, since a new tunnel is already in the works. 

But the Viaduct will close this weekend for its semi-annual inspection.  Drivers will have to re-route their travel for two days.  Routine maintenance on the old structure was scheduled long before the earthquake in Japan. 


Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says he thinks the city’s waterfront viaduct poses an earthquake risk and should be taken down next year.

That's a good four years before the viaduct's planned replacement -- a deep-bore tunnel under downtown -- would be ready.

King5 TV

If you’re waiting for the final chapter in the saga of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, don’t hold your breath. The latest action by the city council has triggered an effort to put the question to the voters again.

In an often-raucous council chamber packed with both supporters and opponents of the planned deep-bore tunnel project, the City Council decisively overturned Mayor Mike McGinn’s veto of a set of agreements between the city and the state that would facilitate the tunnel.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

With the Alaskan Way viaduct scheduled to be demolished in 2016, Seattle area residents are dreaming up possibilities for connecting the waterfront to the city. For decades, the viaduct has largely blocked Elliott Bay, unless you're driving on it or looking out of a high rise building. 

Despite threats of a veto by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, the city council approved agreements today that make some city departments partners in a plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep bored tunnel. Supporters say making land-use, utility and design commitments to the state moves the controversial project forward. 

The council voted 8-1 in favor of the agreements. Mike O'Brien is the sole councilman who opposed them.


The deal is official, but the political fight simmers. The state has put its signature on the contract to build the world's largest deep-bore tunnel, under Seattle's waterfront. It would replace the elevated Alaskan Way Viaduct, SR 99. 


The first major street closure in the work to replace Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct happens Monday night.

The state Department of Transportation says it's closing First Avenue South next to Qwest Field from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday to allow crews to set up space for the huge construction job.

The deep bore tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct along Seattle's waterfront could be bad news for the century-old Western Building in Pioneer Square.  

The six story building sits on top of fill dirt and rotted pilings, and the Washington Transportation Department says it could settle a few inches during construction.  

Gary Davis/KPLU

You may be drying out from the weekend rain storms. But city officials in Seattle are thinking about snow.  They’re learning lessons from the snowstorm in November that turned roads into ice rinks and made for paralyzing commutes.

Courtesy WSDOT

The Seattle Mayor is continuing to question plans to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.  This follows last week’s announcement from the state that the contractor could finish the project under budget and ahead of schedule. 

Courtesy WSDOT

State transportation officials have announced the likely winner in the competition to build a tunnel to replace Seattle's aging Alaskan Way Viaduct.  The proposal comes from a consortium known as Seattle Tunnel Partners.  It has a slightly higher price, but offers other benefits. 


Thursday is a big day for the proposed deep-bore tunnel beneath downtown Seattle.  An underground highway is supposed to replace the elevated freeway along the waterfront. 

At 1 pm, Governor Chris Gregoire will unseal the dollar amounts attached to two bids submitted earlier this fall.  Then, Washington Department of Transportation staff will add up a total score, based on price and engineering details, and announce an apparent winner of the final construction contract.