Friday, August 9, 2013

Port of Seattle Approves Viaduct Replacement Funding

The Port of Seattle Commission on August 6 approved spending almost $268 million in tax funding on the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, a two-mile, four lane tunnel being constructed in Seattle.

“If Washington state is going to keep family wage jobs, we’ve got to keep freight and goods moving through our region,” port Commissioner Bill Bryant said. “That’s why the port helped pay for underpasses and overpasses in the Kent-Auburn valley, and why the Port of Seattle is fulfilling its commitment to help pay for a reconfigured SR 99 and tunnel.”

Under funding agreement, the port has committed to pay $120 million on May 1, 2015 toward the tunnel and north and south portal projects, and $147.7 million on May 1, 2016, for a total of $267.7 million.

The replacement tunnel is expected to carry State Route 99 under downtown Seattle from the SoDo neighborhood to South Lake Union in the north. Over 20 projects, including the SR 99 tunnel, are expected to work together to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct while improving freight mobility.

Tunneling beneath Seattle allows crews to replace the viaduct while minimizing highway closures during construction. Additionally, a new overpass under construction to the west of the stadiums is expected to allow freight and other traffic to bypass a busy railroad track that crosses South Atlantic Street, near the entrance to Terminal 46.

The new funding between the State of Washington and the port fulfills an agreement the two agencies originally adopted in early 2010.

“This agreement is critical to the successful completion of the bored tunnel replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct,” George Allen, Senior Vice President of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “By keeping traffic flowing along the SR 99 corridor, this project maintains the regional capacity we need for continued movement of freight and other goods between the industrial areas of the city.”