Latest program news

  • Timelapse video: taking down one viaduct span

    If you live, work, shop or travel along Seattle's waterfront, chances are you've stopped to watch large machinery doing downright rude things to the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Contractor Kiewit began removing the viaduct in February, producing dramatic changes along the waterfront: 

    A stretch of the viaduct reduced to rubble with construction machinery atop the rubble in the middle

    Above: Central waterfront demolition as of April 6, 2019

    Demolition happens in a specific sequence, with the roadway deck being punched out first, then the structure's girders and columns being munched into rubble. The rubble on the ground is crunched and sorted, and then hauled away by truck. We captured a timelapse of this process from start to finish: one span being demolished over the course of about a week. 

    Want to watch the process in person? Demolition will continue along Alaskan Way all spring, with active demolition typically occuring 7 a.m. - 5  p.m. on weekdays, with occasional weekend work. You can also follow the progress online via our Twitter feed, SDOT's construction cameras along Alaskan Way, our Flickr photo set, and our own construction cameras which will soon capture the work as it moves north.

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    Order: 3.2

  • Traffic changes coming this Saturday to Seventh Avenue North at Denny Way

    The viaduct isn’t the only part of SR 99’s old downtown route that’s being methodically erased from Seattle’s landscape. Near the intersection of Denny Way and newly renamed Seventh Avenue North (formerly Aurora Avenue North) in South Lake Union, contractor Kiewit is filling in the north end of the Battery Street Tunnel.

    This Friday night, between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., crews will expand their work zone near this intersection (Google Streetview for reference). Expect lane reductions and closed sidewalks overnight while crews reconfigure traffic lights and set up cones in the intersection of Denny Way and Seventh Avenue North.

    Come Saturday morning, southbound Seventh Avenue North will be narrowed down to one lane between John Street and Denny Way. Southbound drivers approaching Denny Way will no longer be able to turn left onto Denny or Seventh Avenue; your options will be straight onto Wall Street or a right turn onto westbound Denny Way.

    This will be a big change for drivers coming off SR 99 and heading to parts of South Lake Union, downtown or Capitol Hill. Drivers taking the southbound SR 99 off-ramp to downtown will still be able to take a left on Harrison Street. The southbound bus stop on Seventh Avenue North just north of Denny Way will also remain open.

    Map showing no left turn allowed from southbound Seventh Avenue North onto Denny Way

    Above: The North Surface Streets work zone will expand Saturday, April 20. Click for larger version of map.

    The expanded work zone will give crews space to demolish part of the Battery Street Tunnel’s north portal and continue filling in the trench between the northbound and southbound lanes of Seventh Avenue North.

    Rebuilding “Seventh Avenue North”

    Decommissioning, filling and sealing the Battery Street Tunnel allows us to rebuild three blocks of Aurora Avenue North between Denny Way and Harrison Street. When work is complete in 2020, this stretch of road will look like a typical city avenue instead of highway on- and off-ramps. To reflect this change in character, the City of Seattle recently renamed these three blocks “Seventh Avenue North.” The single block of former Aurora Avenue between Denny Way and Sixth Avenue has been renamed Borealis Avenue. (Aurora borealis? Get it? You get it.)

    Kiewit is currently working on the inside, sunken lanes of Seventh Avenue North, which used to be the SR 99 approach to the Battery Street Tunnel. Crews must complete utility work, fill the portal and raise the trench to match the grade of the surrounding land, then pave new travel lanes. Once they complete this work, the travel lanes and work zone will swap places, with traffic on the new inside lanes and crews working on the outside edges of the street.

    This North Surface Streets work is scheduled to be complete in 2020. For updates on road closures in this area, subscribe to our weekly construction email.

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    Order: 3.3

  • Viaduct demolition at the two-month mark

    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

    View of viaduct being demolished in stages

    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.

    View looking east across Alaskan Way, with no viaduct in sight

    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.

    Wide angle view of section of demolished viaduct

    Caption: Another look at the span of the viaduct that has been completely demolished, near Columbia Street.

    Building a new bridge to Colman Dock

    Worker using a small crane to lift a tube of rebar

    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

    Train passing beneath viaduct, with section of viaduct removed

    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.

    Yellow crane sitting atop viaduct

    Caption: Instead of “munching” the viaduct away, crews are saw-cutting pieces and lifting them away with a crane.

    Restoring the north end

    View from viaduct deck looking north, where the viaduct has been removed

    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.

    Green and white construction machinery sitting among a pile of concrete rubble

    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.

    Want regular updates? Subscribe to our weekly construction email for more detailed information and the latest updates. 

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    Order: 3.4

  • Construction bringing ramp, tunnel and road closures this week and weekend

    Seattle drivers using SR 99 this week should prepare for closures and detours as crews finish work on a ramp and conduct the first regular inspection of the new SR 99 tunnel. Meanwhile, the North Surface Streets Project will be closing three blocks of Seventh Avenue North (formerly Aurora Avenue North) this weekend for paving work and temporary light installation.

    Details on each closure listed below:

    Northbound SR 99 off-ramp to Alaskan Way and downtown

    • When: Closed 9 p.m. – 5 a.m., Monday – Friday nights (4/8 – 4/12)
    • Why: Installing railing on the shoulders of the ramp
    • What this means for drivers: There will be no exits northbound on SR 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and the north end of the SR 99 tunnel. Drivers looking to reach SODO, the waterfront or the south end of downtown should use East Marginal Way, First Avenue or other surface streets.

    Southbound SR 99 tunnel

    • When: Closed 11 p.m. Friday, 4/12 – 8 a.m. Saturday, 4/13
    • Why: Regular inspection and maintenance (the northbound directional closure is scheduled for May)
    • What this means for drivers: All southbound SR 99 traffic approaching the tunnel will have to leave the highway at Harrison Street.

    Seventh Avenue North weekday

    • When: Closed 9 p.m - 5 a.m., Monday, 4/8  Thursday, 4/11
    • Where: Northbound lane closed Tuesday and Thursday nights; southbound closed Monday and Wednesday nights
    • Why: Installing temporary lighting
    • What this means for drivers: Northbound detour will be Dexter Avenue North and Harrison Street. Southbound detour will be Harrison Street and Sixth Avenue North.

    Northbound Seventh Avenue North weekend

    • When: Closed 9 p.m. Friday, 4/12 – 5 a.m. Monday, 4/15
    • Why: Paving work
    • What this means for drivers: Detour for drivers to reach the northbound SR 99 on-ramp will be Dexter Avenue North and Harrison Street. See map below:

    Map showing detour route

    Want traffic news as it happens? Follow SDOT Traffic on Twitter for Seattle traffic updates and WSDOT’s traffic Twitter account for Puget Sound highway traffic conditions.

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    Order: 3.5

  • Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge will close March 30–31 for overhead viaduct demolition

    Update 3/27/19 9:10 a.m.: The closure of the Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge has been cancelled. Kiewit has changed their work plan and will no longer need to temporarily close the pedestrian bridge. They will skip over the section of the viaduct on either side of the pedestrian bridge, coming back to remove that section after the new pedestrian bridge on Columbia Street is ready to open this summer.

    Ferry passengers and other users of the Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge should prepare for detours this weekend as the viaduct demolition contractor Kiewit will close the bridge Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31. This is a safety precaution while Kiewit removes parts of the viaduct decks above and around the bridge. Marion Street beneath the viaduct will also be closed for about a week.

    Closure sequence:

    • Tuesday morning, 3/26: Marion Street closes between Alaskan Way and Western Avenue
    • Saturday morning, 3/30: Pedestrian bridge closes beneath the viaduct
    • Sunday night, 3/31: Pedestrian bridge reopens

    Kiewit will remove parts of the viaduct deck above and around the pedestrian bridge (“slotting” the deck), while leaving the girders and columns in place. WSDOT and Kiewit know that closing the bridge is disruptive to Colman Dock travelers and so have been refining their plans to make this as short of a closure as possible. Removing this portion of the viaduct now will speed up Kiewit’s overall work schedule and reduce construction disruption this summer. After this short closure, the bridge will stay open until the new, temporary bridge being built on Columbia Street is ready to open this summer.

    Free, ADA-accessible shuttle while bridge is closed

    Kiewit will run a shuttle van while the bridge is closed. The shuttle is free and for all users, although priority will be given to people with limited mobility or who require extra accommodation. The shuttle will stop near each end of the Marion Street Pedestrian Bridge.

    Shuttle details:

    • Operating hours: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m. (during Colman Dock operating hours)
    • Frequency: Every 20–30 minutes
    • Colman Dock stop location: West side of Alaskan Way north of Marion Street
    • First Avenue stop location: East side of First Avenue between Marion and Columbia streets

    The shuttle van will drive a loop between Colman Dock and the intersection of First Ave and Marion Street. The route is below:

    Map showing shuttle route through downtown Seattle

    Other pedestrian detour options while the pedestrian bridge is closed:

    • Madison Street and Columbia Streets will both be open to pedestrians between Alaskan Way and First Avenue.
    • The pedestrian bridge stairs at Western Avenue and the elevator at Post Avenue will both be open.

    Sign up for our weekly construction email for the latest on viaduct road closures and work progress. You can learn more about construction at Colman Dock on that project’s website.

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    Order: 3.6

  • Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge closing March 19-26 for viaduct demolition

    The viaduct demolition contractor Kiewit is working their way north to south at the north end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. This week their path takes them to Lenora Street. They will be removing a section of viaduct above the Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge, and as a safety precaution the bridge will be closed for about six days.

    Aerial view of Lenora St ped bridge running under viaduct

    Caption: The Lenora Street pedestrian bridge provides a route between Western Avenue and Alaskan Way. 

    During the closure, a free shuttle will provide rides between the top and bottom of the bridge.

    Shuttle details

    • Hours of operation: 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Arrival frequency: approximately every 20-30 minutes 
    • Shuttle is ADA-accessible; holds 22 passengers
    • Western Avenue stop location: Western Avenue just north of Lenora (east side of street)
    • Waterfront stop location: Alaskan Way just north of Lenora Street (east side of street)

    Other pedestrian detour options during the pedestrian bridge closure are the Bell Street Pedestrian Bridge two blocks to the north, and the Pike Street Hill Climb to the south. The Pike Place Market parking garage between Pine and Pike streets on Western Avenue also has an elevator.

    Map of Belltown showing shuttle route between Alaskan Way and Western Avenue

    Caption: Shuttle route while the Lenora Street Pedestrian Bridge is closed. Click for larger version.

    You can follow Kiewit’s progress on removing the viaduct on our interactive map, and by subscribing to our weekly construction email list.

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    Order: 3.7

Media requests

If you'd like to schedule an interview with a member of our team, please contact:

Laura Newborn
Media relations, Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program 
206-305-0595
newborl@wsdot.wa.gov