SEATTLE – For nearly seven decades, the Alaskan Way Viaduct was front-and-center on the downtown Seattle waterfront and in the state's transportation landscape. But on Nov. 21, 2019, out of view from the waterfront the viaduct so long dominated, the end came quietly as crews plucked the final column of the roadway from a steep hillside near Pike Place Market.
"Nothing about this job was easy," said Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar. "The demolition project was a remarkable accomplishment as the viaduct stood perilously close to buildings and utilities and a critical rail corridor. We appreciate our contractor, Kiewit Infrastructure West, which finished the job with no injuries and no significant damage. And we're proud to have cleared the way for Seattle's new waterfront."
The double-deck viaduct, damaged in a 2001 earthquake, carried State Route 99 above Seattle streets since the 1950s. It closed to traffic after the world's largest single-bore, double-deck road tunnel opened in Seattle in February 2019. Viaduct demolition started soon after that.
"Our state laid out a bold vision to build the world's largest single-bore tunnel beneath Seattle and restore the city's connection to its waterfront," said Gov. Jay Inslee. "The Washington State Department of Transportation delivered on that vision - all in the name of safety.
In the end, the Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition project also became a giant recycling project. Pulverized concrete filled the Battery Street Tunnel, which no longer carried traffic once the new tunnel opened. An estimated 240 million pounds of concrete was recycled, along with more than 15 million pounds of steel rebar.
Now that demolition is complete, the city of Seattle is rebuilding Alaskan Way and the central waterfront. Visit Waterfront Seattle for a look at what the future holds.
Street improvements are underway in the traffic corridor near the tunnel's north portal along with the work to decommission and seal the Battery Street Tunnel. All remaining work should wrap up by the end of 2020.