Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Viaduct

This is maybe a rah-rah Husky thing for me, but CG/LA Infrastructure, LLC, confirms the Alaska Way Viaduct in Seattle, WA as one of the Top Strategic Projects to be presented at the North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum in September of this year in Washington, DC. It's a key shovel-ready project that will transform the waterfront and reconnect the downtown to the water's edge. It's been years in the making, and much thrashing about over alternatives (tunnel vs rebuild) and costs. The Mayor announced in January that the final decision is a deep-bored tunnel, which ultimately cost him his job. The hearings conducted in Washington, DC for the National Surface Transportation and Revenue Study Commission provided the cost analyses and alternatives in 2006. There's also a simulation of an earthquake event that's the basis for all of this, a possible collapse of the viaduct itself. This has led to a local fight about the tunnel option going forward.

This concept replaces a gritty old double-decker freeway that severs the city from the waterfront and the views of Puget Sound. Seattle Grunge started here, and the Pike Place Market is an integral part of that trench-coat-and-a-bad-hair-day tradition that goes with the rain, the grit and Starbucks coffee shops on every corner. They're concerned about the loss of character because of the reconfiguration, but apparently that's been resolved.

Below is a truly cool animation video of the entire project as it is planned to go forward!