Viaduct demolition began in the middle of February, and these first two months have produced dramatic visual changes along Seattle’s waterfront. Here's a rundown of recent progress:
South to north on the central waterfront
Caption: Here you can see the stages of demolition from left to right: first the top deck, then the girders and columns of the upper deck, then the lower deck.
The largest and most eye-catching portion of removal is occurring between Yesler Way and Madison Street. The Columbia Street on-ramp is gone (save two columns that will be reused in a new, temporary pedestrian bridge) and crews are working their way north.
Caption: The view of Columbia Street from Alaskan Way. The two standing columns seen in the background (previously used to support the Columbia Street on-ramp) will be reused to support the temporary pedestrian bridge.
On April 10, one lane of Columbia Street reopened between First Avenue and Alaskan Way, giving a glimpse into the future of travelling along the new Seattle waterfront. The street will eventually become a two-way street and the primary bus route between downtown and Alaskan Way.
Caption: Another look at the span of the viaduct that has been completely demolished, near Columbia Street.
Building a new bridge to Colman Dock
Caption: These cages will help form the columns supporting the new pedestrian bridge along Western Avenue.
Crews are constructing a temporary pedestrian bridge on Western Avenue between Columbia and Marion streets, and along Columbia Street between Western Avenue and Alaskan Way. This bridge will replace the current Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge this summer as a pedestrian route between First Avenue and Colman Dock.
The sections of the viaduct immediately adjacent to the existing pedestrian bridge have been skipped for the time being. The contractor will wait until the temporary bridge is ready to open before returning to remove this section of viaduct.
The temporary bridge will be in place until the City of Seattle builds a new, permanent pedestrian bridge on Marion Street as part of the Waterfront Seattle Project.
Work above the railroad tracks
Caption: The steep slope and active railroad beneath this portion of the viaduct requires a different approach to removal.
Meanwhile, a separate crew is removing sections of the viaduct adjacent to the BNSF railroad tracks between Pine and Lenora streets. The railroad tracks and steep slope complicate this area, requiring a slower method of removal. Work entails sawcutting one piece of viaduct and lifting it off with a crane. The pieces are driven down to Terminal 25 where they are crunched up.
Caption: Instead of “munching” the viaduct away, crews are saw-cutting pieces and lifting them away with a crane.
Restoring the north end
Caption: View from Lenora Street looking north, taken Mar. 22, 2019.
Demolition north of Pike Place Market is complete for the moment, and the work zone is being restored. The Elliott Avenue on-ramp and western half of the viaduct will be saved until the end of demolition so crews can move equipment on and off.
The large number of underground utilities in the area have contributed to a slower-than-expected restoration process, but the contractor plans on opening the Bell and Western intersection in a couple of weeks, and the Elliott and Blanchard intersection shortly thereafter.
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