Topic: alaskan way viaduct
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November 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM
The Highway 99 tunneling machine “Bertha” is on the move again, after a rest stop to undergo adjustments and receive a new set of cutting teeth.
Dark, wet soil tumbled off the tall conveyor belt and plopped onto the deck of Terminal 46, to be trucked or barged away. The moving dirt was visible Thursday morning from the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Bertha had stopped beneath South King Street for about two weeks, after advancing 430 feet since opening day July 30. As planned, two dozen sharp, disc-shaped cutting tools (out of nearly 300 on the 57.3-foot-diameter rotary cutter) eroded after they scoured through a concrete wall and grout-infused soil near the Sodo launch pit.
These were replaced by rectangular teeth, suited to the wet, abrasive glacial soil just ahead.
The machine will now creep along the Elliott Bay shoreline for a couple months before what is arguably the most risky part of the 1.7-mile trip — a passage under the viaduct and past Pioneer Square’s brick buildings. The viaduct will close several days, and the buildings are covered with monitoring devices to detect any soil movements to a fraction of an inch.
In related issues, the state Department of Transportation (DOT) says negotiations are continuing in the labor dispute with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which insists on doing four muck-loading jobs per shift at Terminal 46 — jobs currently allocated to building-trades workers. Two weeks ago, deputy project director Matt Preedy said his goal was to settle the impasse by this week.
Also, the DOT says it’s still working on a legal review and possible solutions, for the failure of contractors to hire enough minority- and female-owned small businesses, such as trucking firms. The Federal Highway Administration’s civil-rights division blasted both Seattle Tunnel Partners and state DOT in a recent investigation, and the feds mentioned they might withhold money for the project if things don’t improve.
KaDeena Yerkan, DOT spokeswoman for the tunnel, said Wednesday that Seattle Tunnel Partners this week solicited a new set of proposals from trucking companies. Those could bring a boost in minority hiring, but Yerkan said details weren’t immediately available.
October 5, 2013 at 6:38 PM
Crews reopened the Alaskan Way Viaduct on Saturday night after inspection work was complete. But all northbound viaduct traffic must exit at Western Avenue until 5 a.m. Monday.
The viaduct was to be closed Saturday and Sunday for a semiannual inspection and maintenance. Work was completed ahead of schedule, and the viaduct will be open Sunday.
A section of Highway 99 north of downtown, including the Battery Street Tunnel, will remain closed while workers install a sewer line beneath Aurora Avenue North.
All lanes in both directions of Highway 99/Aurora Avenue North will be closed between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and Valley Street until 5 a.m. Monday. Mercer Street, Broad Street and the I-5 onramp and offramp at Mercer Street will remain open.
October 3, 2013 at 10:39 AM
While the hectic summer construction season has come and gone, road closures never cease.
This time, the Alaskan Way Viaduct is undergoing its semiannual inspection and a few blocks away, Aurora Avenue North will close near Seattle Center, so workers can install a sewer line for the Mercer West project.
- All lanes of the Viaduct from South Spokane Street to the Battery Street Tunnel will close from 5 a.m Saturday to 6 p.m. Saturday, and from 6 a.m Sunday to 6 p.m. Sunday. Crews normally check for cracks in the 50-year-old concrete, check for any sinking in the columns, and sometimes replace the road stripes or signs. Part of the Viaduct sagged more than 5 inches following the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake, and was reinforced; and early next year, a deep-bore tunneling machine is scheduled to pass below the Viaduct at Yesler Way.
- Aurora Avenue North from the Battery Street Tunnel to Valley Street will close all weekend, from 11 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. But east-west Mercer Street will remain open.
The state and city transportation departments say they coordinated the closures to disrupt traffic only one weekend, rather than several weekends.
April 2, 2013 at 7:14 PM
From Transportation Reporter Mike Lindblom:
“Bertha,” the mammoth Highway 99 tunnel drilling machine, arrived in Seattle on Tuesday from Japan.
The ship may dock Wednesday at Terminal 46, where 41 pieces, weighing 6,700 tons, will be unloaded over two weeks. Container ships take priority, so the ship likely will move on and offshore.
The green disk on the ship’s deck is the rotary cutter head, the world’s largest at 57½ feet in diameter. The sections will be moved to the construction zone on flatbed trucks with up to 96 axles and 768 tires. The drill will be assembled in a Sodo pit, where this summer it will begin the two-mile route to South Lake Union. Drilling should be done late next year.
The $2 billion, four-lane tunnel is scheduled to open to traffic at the start of 2016. Toll rates are not yet set.
Read more about the tunnel machine, courtesy of the state Department of Transportation, watch webcams and learn and the project to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
View pictures of the big tunnel digger at http://seati.ms/12cBzD9.
March 14, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Distance-based tolls, peak-only tolling, and a wide range of rates from 50 cents to $3 are now on the table, as the Highway 99 tunnel’s toll advisory committee looks at a broader spectrum of ideas for raising revenue.
At a Wednesday meeting, committee members seemed far from solving the fundamental problem, after 11 meetings in 16 months. Any toll high enough to reap $200 million for construction costs will cause drivers to opt for downtown streets, which are already near full. Models show there wouldn’t even be a boost in peak traffic on I-5 because the freeway is saturated.
Not only are tolls expected to finance $200 million of the $3.1 billion Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement over 30 years – but over the years, state officials quietly assumed the tolls could cover operations, maintenance, insurance and long-term equipment replacement, comprising another $400 million. Toll-backed financing is much weaker than what pro-tunnel officials assured the public back in 2009, when lawmakers voted to build a tunnel.
The latest scenarios include two that raise money:
- Varying the rates based on whether drivers enter and exit via local streets, or continue on the highway toward Green Lake, Shoreline, West Seattle, or Burien. This would be done using electronic readers at the South Lake Union and Sodo interchanges. In late afternoon, a “short” rate might be $1.20, a “medium” rate $2.10, or a “long” rate of $3.
- A simpler, high-revenue matrix of $2.25 morning peak, $1.50 mid-day, and $2.75 afternoon peak.
And two that minimize diversion to downtown streets:
- A peak-only toll of $1.75, charged from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Cheap rates of 50 cent off-peak, of 75 cents peak, and free at night. (more…)
June 14, 2012 at 11:01 AM
The Alaskan Way Viaduct will close again this weekend, to strengthen the 1953-vintage structure before a giant tunnel-boring machine shakes the ground underneath in 2013.
The shutdown, from the Battery Street Tunnel to the West Seattle Bridge, begins at 11 p.m. Friday, and lanes reopen at 5 a.m. Monday.
Workers will be reinforcing columns just south of the ferry terminal, where the tunnel will cross beneath the old highway before burrowing under downtown to South Lake Union. Some overhead girders will be wrapped in carbon fiber to reduce risks of flaking or cracking when the drill passes below. The four-lane, $2.1 billion tolled tunnel — the biggest piece of the $3.2 billion viaduct replacement — is scheduled to open at the end of 2015. Also this weekend, a large sign-support structure will be set up over the highway in Sodo.
While the viaduct is shut down, the Seattle Department of Transportation will close two lanes of southbound Aurora Avenue North from north Queen Anne Hill to Harrison Street, for spot pavement repairs, on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. A week later, the same stretch of Aurora will be restriped on Sunday, June 24, closing the curb lane.
The city and King County Metro Transit are converting that lane to a business access and transit or “BAT” lane, for buses and right-turns only, to help Metro’s 2013 upgrade of Route 358 to the RapidRide E line. In actuality, drivers pretty much use that curb lane like a BAT lane already, without special striping. SDOT warns there will be an eight to ten-week closure of the curb lane near Mercer Street starting June 25, for utility relocations, to prepare for future work at the Highway 99 tunnel’s north portal.
Meanwhile, Saturday is the grand opening for the Wallingford Greenway, the first of several efforts by neighborhoods and the city to encourage bicycling and walking by calming traffic, on side streets.
Seattle DOT performed a minimal amount of construction, by installing median curbs at Stone Way North, greenway signs on North 43rd and 44th Streets, and “sharrow” bicycle icons on the pavement. The party, to include a kids parade, ice cream, and crafts, is 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday. More information here.
June 10, 2012 at 2:38 PM
April 4, 2012 at 12:40 PM
The need to reinforce a two-block section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct above the path of the upcoming tunnel means the viaduct will be closed from late Friday until early Monday morning, according to the state Department of Transportation.
It will be closed in both directions between the Battery Street Tunnel and the West Seattle Bridge from 11 p.m. Friday, April 6, to 5 a.m. Monday, April 9.
That could mean more than usual congestion in and near downtown Seattle during the closure.
“The weather is improving and shops and restaurants will be open for the holiday weekend,” Matt Preedy, WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program deputy administrator said in a news release. “Remember to plan ahead and allow a little extra time to get to your destination.”
The state has provided a map showing routes to the city’s waterfront, Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square.
From the WSDOT prepared statement:
Crews building the SR 99 tunnel will spend the weekend reinforcing both decks of a two-block section of the viaduct between South Washington and Columbia streets in Pioneer Square. There will be one additional weekend closure of the viaduct in mid-May to complete the scheduled work, which includes filling cracks and wrapping previously damaged sections of the structure in protective reinforcing fiber. Protecting this section of the viaduct is important because crews will drive the tunnel boring machine beneath it in late 2013.
March 25, 2012 at 9:42 AM
Weather: Could it get any better? In fact, no. Not today. So hurry and get outside, because later today, gray, ultimately wet reality returns — supposedly lasting much of the week. The National Weather Service forecast.
Congratulations: The Western Washington men’s basketball team won the Division II championship Saturday, defeating Montevallo of Alabama. The victors are expected back home today on a charter flight scheduled to land at Bellingham International Airport at 2 p.m.
A march and vigil in support of the family of Trayvon Martin will be held at 4 p.m. today in Seattle. This weekend, marches and rallies are being organized around the country as many question why no arrest has been made in the case of the teen’s fatal shooting by a neighborhood-watch volunteer in Florida. Martin, who was wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles and iced tea, was unarmed. The Seattle march will go from Greater Mount Baker Baptist Church, 2425 South Jackson St., to the MLK Memorial south of the church. March participants plan to wear hoodies, and carry Skittles and iced tea.
Vegfest 2012 concludes today: The annual vegetarian festival, featuring lots of food as well as health checks, books and more is at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall. Adults get in for $8, kids 12 and under are admitted free. Details.
Most-read stories this morning on seattletimes.com:
- Seahawks agree to deal with free-agent running back Kregg Lumpkin
- Investigation: Lowell principal mishandled claim of sex misconduct
- Twin clouded leopard cubs make debut | Picture This
- Western Washington men win first NCAA Division II championship
- Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark uses gay slur toward ball boy, apologizes on Twitter | Sounders FC Blog
October 25, 2011 at 9:42 AM
This time-lapse animation shows Google Maps traffic conditions last Friday compared with Monday, the first full weekday without the viaduct. Red and black lines show areas of greatest traffic congestion. The early morning commute is noticeably slower in many places on Monday, though the afternoon commute seems a bit worse on Friday, perhaps owing to the 7:30 p.m. closure of the viaduct that evening. Monday’s evening commute turned nasty earlier than usual, with stop-and-go traffic from Northgate to downtown just after 3 p.m.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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