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Federal approval for Seattle's bored tunnel Aug 2011
Washington State Department of Transportation News Release
A record of decision from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in Washington DC is granted to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to formally approve construction of the State Route 99 tunnel beneath downtown Seattle.
"After more than a decade, we are moving forward," said Governor Chris Gregoire. "We can now kick off the next phase of the tunnel's design and construction."
Besides completing the environmental process, the decision outlines WSDOT's mitigation measures and commitments for the project. These include undertakings such as monitoring buildings and utilities during tunnel boring, the replacing of lost parking during construction and the processes in place for keeping neighbors and the public informed throughout the project.
Proposed route of the double-deck bored tunnel highway

Proposed route of the double-deck bored tunnel highway

"This is a major milestone for Seattle," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "SR 99 represents an investment in the city's economic future by creating jobs and strengthening the economy."
Following issuance of the record of decision, WSDOT directed Seattle Tunnel Partners, the group awarded the procurement contract in January (2011), to begin final design and construction of its $1.35 billion design-build tunnel contract.
Initial construction activities, such as utility relocation, and final design and manufacturing of the 58ft (17.6m) diameter EPB TBM needed for the project and on order with Hitachi Zosen of Japan, will begin this fall.
The 57ft i.d. x 1.7-mile-long bored tunnel will begin on Alaskan Way South, near South King Street, move away from the waterfront at Yesler Way toward First Avenue, and eventually end at Sixth Avenue North and Thomas Street. The SR-99 tunnel is projected to open in late 2015 to provide a safer highway corridor and allow WSDOT to remove the seismically vulnerable viaduct, which was damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake.
"After thoroughly analyzing the bored tunnel and considering more than 90 other alternatives, we know it is the right project for the city, region and the state," said Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. "We look forward to continuing our work with the Seattle City Council, Port of Seattle, King County and Seattle Tunnel Partners to construct the tunnel safely and with transparency and accountability to Washington taxpayers."
References
Voters back the bored tunnel in Seattle - TunnelTalk, Aug 2011
Japanese machine for Alaskan Way mega drive - TunnelTalk, July 2011
Alaskan Way bored tunnel alignment – video report - TunnelCast, Oct 2010
Alaskan Way contract signed - TunnelTalk, Jan 2011
Alaskan Way mega-project procurement - TunnelTalk, Oct 2010

           

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