Battery Street Tunnel

Filling and sealing the Battery Street Tunnel

After the SR 99 tunnel opens in early 2019, WSDOT can begin filling and sealing the Battery Street Tunnel.

Why close the Battery Street Tunnel

The Battery Street Tunnel was built in the 1950s and, like the Alaskan Way Viaduct, is seismically vulnerable. Any new or continued use of the tunnel would require prohibitively expensive renovations. Closing the Battery Street Tunnel also allows WSDOT to rebuild the three-block stretch of Aurora Avenue at the tunnel’s north end, improving east-west mobility in that neighborhood.

Scope of work

Work begins in February 2019 and is scheduled to be complete in late 2020. The major elements of this work are:

  • Decommissioning and removing the tunnel’s utility and mechanical systems.
  • Removing hazardous materials from the tunnel.
  • Filling the tunnel and sealing its entrances.
  • Street restoration along Battery Street, including sidewalk improvements, new curb ramps, street lighting and other pedestrian improvements.

The tunnel will be filled in two phases, with material brought into the tunnel both from its south entrance and through grates along Battery Street above. Click the diagram below to enlarge:

Diagram showing how the lower half of the tunnel will be filled differently than the top


Construction impacts

Construction will occur both inside the Battery Street Tunnel and on the surface street above. During construction, neighbors and travelers should expect:

  • Traffic lane restrictions and closures along Battery Street. Two lanes of traffic will be open during typical PM peak commutes, with up to 42 days of single-lane configuration and a limited number of night and weekend full closures.
  • Staging of construction equipment at the south end of the tunnel.
  • Temporary building and parking access restrictions according to previously negotiated Temporary Construction Easements.
  • Increased truck activity on Battery Street and near the north and south portals.
  • Typical construction impacts such as increased dust, noise, and vibration.
  • Local sidewalk access maintained and possible short pedestrian detours.
  • Majority of work will occur during the daytime with occasional night work.
  • Dust will be reduced through water misting.
  • Occasional temporary closures of cross-street traffic.
  • Temporary parking restrictions on Battery Street and side streets for equipment staging.