Alaskan Way Viaduct

Megaprojects
9:58 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Seattle Tunnel Partner Wins $80 Million Dispute Over Boston’s Big Dig

Road signs from Boston's Big Dig.
Flickr Photo/Nantaskart!

One of the two companies attempting to dig a highway tunnel beneath the Seattle waterfront has won an $80 million dispute with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

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Local Issues
3:11 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Mayor Murray Talks Police Reform, Cracking Viaduct And Minimum Wage

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about restoring the Seattle Police Department's reputation, new cracks in the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the latest progress on the minimum wage debate.

Downtown Harbor
11:08 am
Thu March 6, 2014

To Reshape Seattle's Waterfront, Planners Look To Past

By the end of the 1920s, Seattle's waterfront was crowded with docks and its skyline was getting taller. This photo, taken from Colman Dock around 1931, is part of a panorama view of the city. The tallest landmarks are the Exchange Building (left) and Smith Tower (right).
Credit Courtesy of Museum of History & Industry

Historians point to the early months of 1852 as the time that downtown Seattle was founded. One Sunday in late winter of that year, members of the Denny Party, a group of settlers from Illinois who’d arrived at Alki a few months earlier, paddled across Elliott Bay.

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Bertha Woes
6:23 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Six Months Needed To Repair Seattle Tunnel Machine

Chris Dixon of Seattle Tunnel Partners
Credit KUOW/John Ryan

Seattle's tunnel builders say getting their world-record tunnel machine going again will take at least six more months.

The tunnel machine known as Bertha has sat largely motionless for nearly three months since it overheated in early December.

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SR 99 Tunnel Project
9:44 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Tunnel Tolling: Build It, And They Won't Come?

The Alaskan Way Viaduct section of state Route 99 is being replaced by a tunnel under downtown Seattle and will be partially paid for with toll revenues.
Credit Flickr Photo/camknows (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Anyone who's hosted a party has probably had that panicky feeling beforehand: What if you throw a big party and nobody comes?

State transportation officials face a similar worry: What if after they build a $3.1 billion underground highway to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, not enough people use it?

Build It And They Won't Come?

The state Legislature has decreed that tolls have to pay for $200 million of the state Route 99 tunnel's construction cost.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
2:46 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

First Stuck, Now Broken: What's Wrong With Bertha?

Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation

Marcie Sillman talks with state transportation secretary Lynn Peterson about Bertha's latest condition and plans to get the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine moving again.

Stuck In Place
4:51 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Seattle's Tunnel Machine Chokes On Dirt

Seattle Tunnel Partners workers atop a tank of soil conditioner used by tunnel builders
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

State officials said Friday afternoon that the tunneling machine known as Bertha had to stop, not because it hit foreign objects, but because it clogged with dirt.

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Transportation
11:38 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Workers To Descend Into Blocked Bertha In A Pressurized Bubble

A Seattle Tunnel Partners crew works on one of the tanks holding soil conditioner being used to seal an underground air bubble.
Credit KUOW Photo/John Ryan

To get Bertha moving again, state officials announced Wednesday that they are sending in human reinforcements – in a giant, pressurized bubble.

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Transportation
2:44 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Anything But Boring: Bertha Updates

Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds gets an update from WSDOT Highway 99 Program Administrator Matt Preedy on how and when Bertha will move forward, and who is going to pay for it.

Transportation
2:56 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

SDOT Projects Depend Upon Bertha's Advance

Bertha carved just over 1,000 feet before getting stuck in December and has not moved since.
Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation

Marcie Sillman talks with Jon Layzer, director of major projects for the Seattle Department of Transportation, about how city capital projects are intricately connected to the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.

SR 99 Tunnel
2:47 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Sawmill Grinders And Old Piers: A Historian Talks About What Could Be in Bertha's Path

Previous development of Seattle's waterfront may have left behind impediments to Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine.
Flickr Photo/Tender Young Pony of Insomnia

Marcie Sillman talks with Jennifer Ott of HistoryLink.org about one possible cause of the SR 99 tunneling machine’s blockage: leftovers from Seattle's historical waterfront development.

For other, more humorous, theories check out our What's Blocking Bertha? compilation.

SR 99 Tunnel
2:50 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

What's In Bertha's Way?

Bertha, the drilling machine digging out the SR 99 tunnel, has run up against an unknown impediment.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom about what may have halted Bertha, the huge tunneling machine in charge of digging the new SR 99 tunnel.

Elections 2013
8:57 am
Thu October 10, 2013

McGinn, Murray Revive Tunnel Feud In TV Debate

Screen shot of Mayor Mike McGinn and State Senator Ed Murray in their first televised debate of the Seattle mayor's race

In their first televised debate on KING5 TV, Mayor Mike McGinn and State Senator Ed Murray engaged in a sharp but mostly civil exchange over housing, transportation, and police reform, among other things. 

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Transportation
12:30 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

New Proposal: Highway 99 Tolls Could Be $1.00

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

A new tolling proposal would ask drivers to pay as little as $1.00 for taking the Highway 99 tunnel under downtown Seattle. During morning and evening commutes, rates would jump to $1.25. A state advisory committee is hoping the proposal will strike a balance between tolling revenues and potential traffic diversion.

Two years ago, when the tunnel plan was approved by voters, the proposed tolling rates were as high as $3.00 during peak hours. Under that plan, traffic planners were concerned that high tolling rates would divert too many cars onto downtown streets. Maud Daudon is co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Tolling and Traffic Management. She's also president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. She talked with Ross Reynolds.

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