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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 1, 2009 at 3:40 PM

Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement

To many unknowns to bear the bore

With data on the viaduct’s movement in the last earthquake and the scarcity of state and federal funds for associated street projects [“New look at how viaduct shimmies,” page one, Feb. 25], it’s time to get real about our options for viaduct replacement.

A new viaduct would outweigh the proposed tunnel in cost, time to completion, carrying capacity and safety. The Times reports almost weekly on the shifting-cost estimates and shrinking amount of state funding available. The time to completion varies with each iteration of plans.

The tunnel’s carrying capacity is unknown. But, the Washington state Department of Transportation projects in 2030 the tunnel’s two-lane-per-direction capacity and travel time will be similar to today’s with three lanes per direction on most of the roadway.

Is this reasonable?

We don’t even know today’s carrying capacity, since daily-traffic estimates vary from 80,000 or 85,000 vehicles to 110,000. Anyone who has been stuck in the Battery Street tunnel has had a preview of the safety considerations raised by a longer, narrower tunnel with only an 8-foot shoulder on one side and without exits except at each end.

If your tire blows out, how is this plan better than a viaduct?

It’s time to write the governor, mayor, state senators and representatives to think practically about this problem. We can make a more realistic decision now, before the Big Bore gets started.

— Lilyan Snow, Mercer Island

Reminiscent of Safeco, Eyman’s rescue

It is outrageous that our government leaders are again building a new stadium despite people’s overwhelming vote against it. This stadium is called “the waterfront tunnel.”

Don’t they remember what happened when they pushed the new Mariners stadium over people’s objections? It spawned Tim Eyman, who successfully cut state revenues in initiative after initiative precisely because people were fed up with the arrogance of government officials deciding what’s best for them.

And, now the budget is $8 billion in the hole and still counting. It is ludicrous that Gov. Christine Gregoire, Mayor Greg Nickels, and King County Executive Ron Sims would choose the most expensive solution to the viaduct at a time like this.

They just handed Eyman his next initiative, and it will be a slam dunk.

— Janice Van Cleve, Seattle

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