Local Information

WSDOT announces weekend celebration to say “hello” new tunnel, “goodbye” old viaduct

Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 10:25

Steve Peer, communications, 425-301-2023

Public invited to once-in-a-lifetime event in the new tunnel and on the viaduct

SEATTLE – Early next year the public will have a unique weekend to run, bike, or simply explore Seattle's past, present, and future.

Slated for Feb 2 and 3, the Washington State Department of Transportation and city of Seattle will host a grand opening celebration to mark the completion of the new State Route 99 tunnel, the final days of the viaduct, and an improved and reconnected waterfront.

Bookended by a fun run and bike ride, the weekend festivities also include a ribbon cutting, an art festival on the viaduct to celebrate the future waterfront, a public walk through in the new SR 99 tunnel, and interactive science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities at the tunnel's portals. Live music and food trucks will round out the family-oriented celebration.

"This family-friendly event is a celebration for the Puget Sound region, and a big step forward for Seattle," said David Sowers, WSDOT deputy administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. "Event activities span from the stadiums to the Space Needle, so for the best experience, we're encouraging people to plan their weekend and reserve tickets early."

Saturday event schedule

WSDOT will kick off the weekend early Saturday morning, Feb. 2, with a community fun run sponsored by the HNTB Corporation. The 8K route will take runners through the new tunnel, on to the viaduct, and through the Battery Street Tunnel.

Officials will then cut a ribbon near the south portal, officially opening North America's largest bored tunnel. At that time, the public can explore:

  • The new SR 99 tunnel.
  • An arts festival featuring over 100 local artists, installations and a community celebration on the viaduct.
  • Community festivals near the stadiums and Seattle Center, with food trucks, live music and STEM activities.
  • An interactive "Excavation Station" presented by Dragados U.S.A. that will show how crews used the tunneling machine Bertha to drill and build the 5-story tunnel under Seattle.

Sunday event schedule

On Sunday, Feb. 3, the weekend celebration closes with a bike ride sponsored by Cascade Bicycle Club. The 12-mile route will give cyclists their only opportunity to ride on both the upper and lower decks of the tunnel and viaduct.

Free and paid registration for events

WSDOT encourages participants to visit the Step Forward website to register for the following weekend events:

  • Free tickets to explore the tunnel and viaduct on Saturday. Those who register gain entry priority.
  • Paid entry to the Saturday morning fun run and/or Sunday morning bike ride. The public must register in advance in order to participate.

Event partnerships

The grand opening weekend is a collaboration of WSDOT, sponsors and agency partners.

"There's no way we could pull off an event of this magnitude without help," said Sowers. "We're very thankful to our sponsors, the city of Seattle and King County Metro in the planning and hosting of this event."

For more information about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, including links to historical material, information about future work, closures, and real-time construction cameras, please visit the project homepage.

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