The beginning of the end for the Alaskan Way Viaduct

This weekend marked the beginning of the end for the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct.

On Friday evening, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) crews closed the viaduct to begin demolishing its southernmost mile. The demolition will allow crews to complete connections to new State Route 99 lanes in SODO. Washington Governor Chris Gregoire joined in the demolition, climbing behind the controls of a shovel loader to move viaduct debris. Work on the southern portion of the viaduct is part of a larger plan to replace the central waterfront section of the viaduct with a bored tunnel beneath downtown Seattle. The tunnel is scheduled to open to traffic in late 2015.

On Saturday, the Seattle Cossacks motorcycle stunt and drill team joined the Rat City Rollergirls and performed risky, breath-taking maneuvers on the old highway. The two groups topped nearly 600 creative entries in a contest for the chance to express themselves on the viaduct. It was a soggy day, but nobody cared. The Cossacks built human pyramids and performed stunts while riding vintage Harley Davidson motorcycles. Afterward, members of the general public were invited to take part in a commemorative walk on the viaduct take home a commemorative piece of the 48-year-old structure as part of a farewell event.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition. (PHOTOS COURTESY WSDOT)