Alaskan Way Viaduct

The January closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in downtown Seattle — also known as State Route 99 — was another step in a long reclamation project that will eventually remove the highway and repurpose the land it occupies. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, removing the viaduct will be completed in three stages: site preparation, demolition and site restoration.

Now that Seattle's long-awaited SR 99 tunnel has opened to traffic, demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct can begin, moving the $3.3 billion, 30-project endeavor one step closer to the projected 2021 completion. Seattle celebrated the opening of SR 99 with a party for the public, including a fun run, bike race and walking tour of the tunnel — an opportunity 70,000 people signed on for.

SEATTLE (AP) -- A major thoroughfare for commuters along downtown Seattle's waterfront is set to shut down for good Friday, ushering in what officials say will be one of the most painful traffic periods in the history of the booming Pacific Northwest city.

Aug. 6 marked the beginning of an important project that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct can be removed. Crews working for Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. have begun the traffic signal, striping and roadway signage work required to switch traffic on Alaskan Way from beneath the viaduct to just west of the viaduct.

The demolition of Seattle's aging Alaskan Way Viaduct is finally in view. On May 16, the Washington State Department of Transportation selected Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. to demolish the viaduct, decommission the Battery Street Tunnel and reconnect city surface streets just north of the nearly complete State Route 99 tunnel.

Three years after the tunneling machine dubbed “Bertha” began work on a 2-mi. (3.2 km) tunnel beneath the city of Seattle, the machine has passed the half-way point. Bertha pushed past the Pike Place Market on Sept. 30, successfully excavating more than 4,635 ft.