The demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct has begun. Learn about the demo plan, track the demo, & see what’s next.

We’re doing it, Seattle. We’re breaking records left and right.

Alaskan Way Viaduct + Snow
Alaskan Way Viaduct + snow. Photo by: Matthew McQuilkin via http://bit.ly/2E2saV8

We’re only two months into 2019 and we went from the longest major highway closure to BAM- snow! But not just any snow. It’s the kind of snow that gave us the snowiest February we’ve had in over 50 years. #snOMG

Before we get too comfy adjusting back to our pre-viaduct/pre-snowmaggedon way of travel and work, the #SeattleSqueeze is well underway and there is more coming.

Seattle Squeeze Description

The SR #99Tunnel is open & the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct has begun.

Viaduct Demolition Excavator
Photo by WSDOT. Excavator with a concrete cracking attachment chews up the deck of the Alaskan Way Viaduct near the Seattle Aquarium.

If you’re not familiar with the specs of the new tunnel, get to know the tunnel. On February 19, the northbound off-ramp to Alaskan Way and downtown opened. This new exit ramp leads to a new intersection at South Dearborn Street where drivers have several choices:

  • Go straight to Alaskan Way and the waterfront or
  • Turn right to access First Avenue.

This video👈👀 shows what the choices look like. 

Also, visit King County Metro’s website for info on bus routes now that the new ramps are open.

#DemoPlan

The demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will take about six months. In most places, crews will use impact hammers to break up the viaduct’s roadway deck. Then large hydraulic munchers will remove the viaduct’s girders and columns. In certain locations, crews will cut the viaduct into pieces and remove them by crane. The rubble will be hauled away by truck. Demolition has started in two locations: at the Columbia St on-ramp, and at a section of the viaduct near Pike Street. Soon a third crew will begin work at the viaduct’s north end near the intersection of Western Avenue and Bell Street.

The demolition will occur in sections similar to what you see in the image above, with the contractor working on the viaduct in multiple places at once to speed up the overall pace of work. Crews will generally spend around 30 days working in each area.

Dive in deeper into WSDOT’s demo plan.

Track the demo!

Wondering what’s happening at Columbia Street? Can’t wait to know when work starts on Union and University streets? Us too– that’s why we’re keeping a close eye on WSDOT’s interactive web tracker of the viaduct demolition.

YES – you can still walk | bike | drive on Alaskan Way. 

Photo by WSDOT. Just west of Pike Place Market, demolition is underway on the old southbound lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Here’s what you can expect:

Alaskan Way will remain open throughout demolition. Important to know though, Alaskan Way will be reduced to one lane in each direction in areas that are directly adjacent to the work zone. 

While Alaskan Way running north and south will be open during the demolition, closures of streets that intersect with Alaskan Way (think: Seneca St, Marion St, and others) will be minimized as well, to keep east-west access between the waterfront and downtown open. 

 

The best vantage point.

The waterfront, Pike Place Market, and Pioneer Square will all be open for business throughout demolition and will provide good vantage points for watching this historic transformation unfold.

 

Use the FREE Waterfront Shuttle.

We encourage you to continue to shop, play, and stay downtown during the Squeeze! Use the free Waterfront Shuttle that runs between the downtown waterfront and three nearby neighborhoods (Seattle Center, Pioneer Square, and the Central Business District). The shuttle program, extended through summer 2019, is paid for with WSDOT funding set aside to help neighborhoods most affected by the project. Information about nearby parking is available at downtownseattleparking.com. 

 

Up next.

Once WSDOT completes the demolition and the removal of the viaduct, we’ll begin work on a new Alaskan Way street and a public open space along the waterfront. The future of the Waterfront is bright, and we can’t wait until we’re able to experience it to the fullest. 

In our next blog post, we’ll share more on what’s happening next beyond the viaduct demo and what we’re doing to help the city (YOU!) get through the #SeattleSqueeze.