Alaskan Way viaduct

What if Seattle gets stuck with cost overruns on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project?

That question sparked a lively exchange on KING-TV between the two candidates for mayor of Seattle during their first televised debate.

During the hour long debate sponsored by KING-TV, KIRO-FM and The Seattle Times, Mayor Mike McGinn and Sen. Ed Murray traded jabs on everything from leadership style to police reform.

But their discussion of the tunnel project raised one of the most interesting questions.

WSDOT

The drill known as Bertha is back to eating dirt after a slow start, then a delay, then a delay caused by the delay.

The massive machine boring the Highway 99 tunnel beneath Seattle had been sitting still while two labor unions duked it out over a handful of jobs.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week he’d brokered a deal in the dispute, and said the digging would resume after a few days.

WSDOT

The State Route 99 tunnel boring machine, better known by her nickname “Bertha,” is poised and ready to begin the dig under downtown.  

To get a bird’s eye view, we climb three stories on temporary metal staircases near Pioneer Square. At the top, we’re standing on what remains of the lower deck of the Alaskan Way viaduct. 

Evan Hoover / KPLU

Replacing Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct is going to bring more than dust and noise; it’s also predicted to create a mass exodus of rats and cockroaches in search of quieter places to hide, feed and cause damage.

The complete removal of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct is years away. The tunnel replacing it won’t open till 2015.

But this summer marks a crucial moment for the iconic Pike Place Market as the waterfront is redeveloped.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The long goodbye to Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct has begun.

With some ceremonial scoops of dirt, officials today began digging a pit for the giant machine that will chew up the earth under Seattle like a massive termite creating the deep-bore tunnel.

Courtesy james corner field operations and City of Seattle

Should the Pike Place Market be connected to Elliot Bay with new walkways?

That’s one of many expensive questions on the minds of landscape designers in charge of rebuilding Seattle’s waterfront.

In less than a week, the city will once again convene stakeholders and the public for help shaping the future of the city’s  “front door” on Puget Sound.

The group Waterfront Seattle is calling on the public to join in discussions that will help determine what the new waterfront will look like, after the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down.

Florangela Davila / KPLU

It’s been a long running problem – how to keep and create affordable spaces for artists to live, work and perform in.

That’s the focus of Cultural Space Seattle, a two-day event beginning Tuesday at Town Hall. The City of Seattle is asking a wide range of people to roll up their sleeves to look for ways to preserve Seattle’s vibrant arts scene.

Watch as an entire section collapses:

The Washington Transportation Department says Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct will reopen at mid-day Saturday, ending traffic congestion drivers call "viadoom" a day-and-a-half early.

WSDOT

The Washington Transportation Department says the work that has shut down the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle is on schedule.

WSDOT has published a new round of photos on it's Flickr site.

Spokesman Travis Phelps says the viaduct is scheduled to reopen early Monday. He said Wednesday it's unlikely the work would wrap up ahead of schedule. Some had hoped it would reopen in time for Sunday's Seahawks game in CenturyLink Field.

Joey Cohn / KPLU

So far – not so bad. That seems to be the upshot of the first weekday commute without the Alaskan Way Viaduct through Seattle. Traffic was slow, but not totally gridlocked Monday morning.

The state Department of Transportation says many people heeded their warnings and changed their commute patterns. That was certainly the case on board the West Seattle water taxi, which picked up nearly twice as many riders.

The Monday morning commute in Seattle was congested but moving slowly as drivers dealt with "Viadoom," the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, one of the city's main north-south highways.

Klaufi / Flickr

The Rat City Rollergirls and a motorcycle stunt team will be taking over the Alaskan Way Viaduct for half an hour Saturday before demolition begins on the Seattle elevated highway.

The so-called "Carmageddon" in Los Angeles this summer was a bust — but its Seattle-based sequel "Viadoom" is being billed as the real deal.

When the Alaskan Way Viaduct shuts down at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, nearly 90,000 drivers will face detours and delays. Transportation officials have been encouraging commuters to ditch their cars during the nine day closure. Otherwise, they say roads through the city will be total gridlock.

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.

Pages