A 'milestone' demolition for Alaskan Way Viaduct

When the clock strikes 7:30 p.m. on Fri., Oct. 21, the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct, as it is today, will cease to exist. With just hours before crews close the viaduct and begin demolishing its southernmost mile, drivers should take a last practice run of their alternate plans to get around during the closure.

While crews are demolishing part of the viaduct and completing connections to new SR 99 lanes in SODO, drivers will face daily commutes without one of Seattle’s two north-south highways. Traffic on Saturday will be especially heavy around CenturyLink Field as the Washington State Cougars play the Oregon State Beavers at 7:30 p.m. Drivers headed to the game should plan ahead for extra congestion. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) urges football fans and daily viaduct commuters alike to find alternate ways to get to their destinations.

“We know the closure is an inconvenience for drivers, but the demolition work is a vital step in building a safer SR 99 through Seattle,” said state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “If you haven’t familiarized yourself with alternative forms of transportation, now is the time to pick the option that works best for you.”

Northbound SR 99 between the West Seattle Bridge and South Royal Brougham Way will be closed from 7:30 p.m. Fri., Oct. 21, to 5 a.m. Mon., Oct. 31. Northbound SR 99 between the South Royal Brougham Way on-ramp and the Battery Street Tunnel will be open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and for special events at CenturyLink Field. Southbound SR 99 between the Battery Street Tunnel and West Seattle Bridge will be closed from 7:30 p.m. Fri., Oct. 21, to 5 a.m. Mon., Oct. 31.

“We realize that not everyone can completely change their commute,” said Matt Preedy, WSDOT’s Alaskan Way Viaduct deputy program administrator. “However, for those who have a choice, options such as vanpooling, riding the bus or taking the water taxi can help you avoid long delays.”

For more information about the nine-day closure, click here.

On Sat., Oct. 22, the public is invited to take part in a commemorative walk on the viaduct as part of a farewell event to the southern mile of the structure. The walk is from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Elected officials will make formal remarks and celebrate this major milestone at 1 p.m. Attendees can also take home a commemorative piece of the viaduct. For more information, visit the viaduct’s event Web site at wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct/Calendar.htm.

The machines that will demolish the south end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct stacked up on the east side of the viaduct near Royal Brougham Way. The demolition starts the evening of Oct. 21, 2011. (PHOTO COURTESY WSDOT)