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Wednesday, March 02, 2011
KaDeena Yerkan, Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Program, 206-805-2846, 206-795-1876 (cell)
Amy Grotefendt, Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Program, 206-295-9846 (cell)
New ViaductHistory.org website focuses on history of Alaskan Way Viaduct and nearby neighborhoods
SEATTLE – Historic preservation groups were notified today about a proposal to preserve the 619 Western Building in Pioneer Square during construction of the proposed SR 99 bored tunnel. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) developed the proposal to stabilize and shore the building sufficiently to minimize potential damage during construction. The Western Building is in poor structural condition and sits on unconsolidated fill that without protective measures could settle during tunnel construction.
“This proposal ensures that we would build the SR 99 bored tunnel in a way that preserves Seattle’s history, while being responsible with taxpayer dollars,” said Ron Paananen, WSDOT’s Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Program Administrator. “We listened to the Seattle City Council and historic preservation groups interested in preserving the building at 619 Western Avenue, and developed a proposal that both reflects their preservation concerns and keeps us on schedule to release the Final Environmental Impact Statement this summer.”
The proposal would stabilize and support the building in order to minimize damage during bored tunnel construction. Crews would install additional piles to support the foundation, stabilize existing structural elements, and install temporary shoring and cabling inside the building. As an additional precaution, crews would construct a steel frame around the outside of the building and inject stabilizing grout into the soil.
Once the tunnel boring machine has passed beneath the building, it would be returned to the owner in a functional and structural condition that is similar to today. The tenants in the building would still need to be relocated while crews stabilize the building and while the tunnel boring machine passes below; this work is expected to take approximately 12 months.
Earlier this year WSDOT recommended that the building be demolished rather than fully rehabilitated. The Seattle City Council, historic preservation groups, the Pioneer Square community, and the property owner expressed strong support for preserving the building. WSDOT has investigated a broad range of options from demolition to a complete retrofit and rehabilitation of the building. A complete rehabilitation of the building could cost up to $35 million. The initial estimate for the proposed stabilization and support work is between $15 and $20 million; further engineering will confirm the estimate.
City and state historic preservation officers, historic preservation interest groups, the Alliance for Pioneer Square, and the property’s owner will review WSDOT’s proposal. If they concur, WSDOT will work with these groups to finalize a memorandum of agreement by this summer as part of the project’s final environmental review.
As part of its commitment to documenting the history of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and its surrounding neighborhoods, WSDOT has launched an informative website – http://www.viaducthistory.org/ – focused on the history of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the neighborhoods along the viaduct corridor. The website includes information about Seattle’s history, how the viaduct was built, program archaeology efforts, local historic buildings, activities for kids, and stunning architectural and historic photos. For more information on the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement program, visit http://www.alaskanwayviaduct.org/.
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