Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 9, 2008 at 3:27 PM

Alaskan Way Viaduct plans

Introducing the hybrid tunnel

All of the proposed replacements of the Alaskan Way Viaduct are, so far, unacceptable to the majority, in one way or another [” ‘Hybrid’ plans combine tunnel, surface streets in place of viaduct,” News, Dec. 9].

A tunnel is the costliest and longest to build. It also presents the scariest scenario in case of an earthquake of large magnitude. A replacement viaduct is also expensive albeit less costly than a tunnel. A retrofit is no better because it would just serve as a bandaid as the 50-year-old structure is crumbling.

There are many proponents for a surface alternative because it is not only the cheapest to build but also the fastest to finish and gives the best view of the waterfront. Its drawback is slower traffic leading to congestion.

How about an alternative that gives the same view of the waterfront as a surface roadway while at the same time moving traffic as a tunnel and viaduct would?

Here’s that alternative: a surface tunnel. Envision a road at the bottom of a 10-foot-deep canal six lanes wide. Build a wall on both sides of that canal for 18 feet and put a roof with openings for light, ventilation and easy ingress and egress in case of disaster inside the tunnel.

It should be noted that the road is only 10 feet deep but the walls are 18 feet high. That’s because the earth previously dug out is used to cover up the exposed 8 or so feet above the original surface to hide the tunnel.

So, there is a tunnel that did not have to be bored deep underground, a road that has no traffic lights and the view to the waterfront is unobstructed from the city. At the same time, the new ground surface is a wide open promenade/park like the Embarcadero in San Francisco. An added and very important advantage is safety in case of major disasters as in big earthquakes. There is no tunnel to collapse and no pillars to buckle in an earthquake.

— Avelino Reyrao, Kent

Comments | More in Transportation, Viaduct

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►