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All lanes of SR 99 reopen through Seattle after inspection

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Date:  Saturday, March 22, 2014

Contact: Travis Phelps, WSDOT communications, 206-715-9887

SEATTLE – Traffic is moving again on State Route 99 through Seattle after bridge crews from the Washington State Department of Transportation completed a one-day inspection of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The last of the barriers between the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel and South Spokane Street were removed at 6:20 p.m. Saturday, March 22.

It was the second in-depth inspection of the viaduct this month. During the regularly scheduled inspection on March 1, small new cracks were observed, as well as widening of some existing cracks along girders and supports near Spring and Seneca streets. The widest crack was 1⁄16 of an inch; most were smaller.

“The viaduct is still safe for travel, but these signs of wear and tear show that it is deteriorating,” said Tom Baker, WSDOT bridge engineer. “The latest round of inspections will help us develop a more detailed snapshot of the structure and what steps are necessary to keep it open to traffic.”

During today’s inspection, WSDOT engineers took a closer look of areas previously covered in ivy on the 60-year-old highway and installed monitoring devices to gather data over several weeks.

Next steps

Late-night drivers could see some single-lane closures in coming weeks, while repair crews fill cracks with epoxy.

It will take months for engineers to analyze the information from the newly installed monitoring devices, which could shed more light on the cause of the cracking along the elevated highway and if a more robust fix is needed.


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