Seattle’s Viaduct closure


Emma Austin, Editor-in-Chief

Tourists and Seattle residents can start grieving now over the loss of a special overpass view, as the Route 99 tunnel in downtown Seattle is finally finished and in position to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct Jan. 11, 2019.

The construction of this tunnel has been long in the making though—dating back to October of 2011, with several years of planning and mishaps along the way.

The Bertha machine (the world’s largest boring machine) was used to dig out the tunnel, and by the end of the construction process, only pieces of the machinery could be salvaged as an artifact.  Its memory is important as the piece of equipment quite literally made history, coming in as the world’s largest earth pressure balance tunnel boring machine, weighing in at 6,700 tons and measuring at 57.5 feet in diameter.

Aside from the apparent loss of a significant bridge, citizens traveling in and out of the city in the waiting period are going to be losing time. This is because the waterfront traffic is said to be the worst it has ever been, with the longest delay times. It is a 3-week waiting period that will also mark it as Puget Sound region’s longest major highway closure.

As shared by a Seattle Times reporter in a recent article titled “Are you ready? Three-week highway 99 closure downtown with push our patience to the limit,” civilians should expect and prepare for the longest waits of their lives.

“The region can’t absorb the viaduct’s 90,000 daily vehicle trips and 30,000 detoured bus riders without traffic jams that likely will ripple out as far as Woodinville or Auburn,” as described in the article.

And this reporter spoke the truth, as many transit buses are being rerouted to account for the delays. According to King County’s help link, specific to the viaduct closure, buses 21x3755-56-57113120,121-122-123 and C Line, have new schedules set already.

The help page is incredibly easy to access and has even more information on how people can get around the quickest, and most efficiently.

“Avoiding peak times will make for a more comfortable (and quicker) riding experience while freeing up space for others who can’t shift their schedule. It’s also a great excuse to grab a bite after work at that spot you’ve been meaning to try,” as found on the website.


Closures and how it could affect your riding:

Other articles on the subject: