The Alaskan Way Viaduct, a two-level elevated freeway that is part of State Route 99, was built between 1949 and 1953 to carry traffic along Seattle’s waterfront. When the Nisqually earthquake hit in 2001, the viaduct suffered minor damage but raised concerns that another major earthquake could cause it to collapse. And so, after a lot of civic and political debate, the state and city decided to replace the viaduct. After considering rebuilding another elevated structure, a surface boulevard, or a cut-and-fill tunnel, the decision was made in 2009 to bore a 2-mile-long tunnel deep below downtown Seattle. After years of delays, boring finally began in 2013, and the completed tunnel is scheduled to be open to traffic in three weeks.
The Alaskan Way Viaduct was officially closed to traffic at 10 pm this past Friday, January 11, 2019. What I will miss, along with many others, I’m sure, are the fantastic views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountain Range to the west while traveling on the upper deck traveling north, especially at sunset.