The Viaduct is a Hard Habit to Break

by on October 28, 2011
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Alaskan Way Viaduct (Photo: Arne Christensen)

Alaskan Way Viaduct (Photo: Arne Christensen)

Alaskan Way Viaduct (Photo: Arne Christensen)

Alaskan Way Viaduct (Photo: Arne Christensen)

Alaskan Way Viaduct (Photo: Arne Christensen)

Alaskan Way Viaduct (Photo: Arne Christensen)

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Last weekend, the Washington Department of Transportation opened a closed Viaduct to pedestrian traffic, so people could say their (first) goodbyes to the spit-and-baling-wire structure in person. It wasn’t the end of the entire Alaskan Way Viaduct–just the end of the southern end, which is being torn down this week, a project that is right on schedule. You can follow along yourself via WSDOT’s construction cameras.

Commuters seemed willing and able to find workarounds for most of the week, until Thursday, when #viadoom struck. The morning commute was rough, the afternoon, rougher, as the Seattle Times‘s Mike Lindblom recounts:

Traffic entering Seattle on I-5 was stop-and-go from Shoreline to downtown, starting as early as 3 p.m. and continuing past 6 p.m. A seven-mile trip from Northgate to the convention center took 40 minutes, according to the INRIX traffic-data firm.

As regional drivers tried to miss Seattle, congestion built on I-405 southbound in the Canyon Park area of Bothell, where speeds were 23 mph, or half the usual pace.

Come Monday, it’ll be all right, or at least back to the normal back-ups–the Viaduct will reopen at 5 a.m. on October 31. on Saturday.

Occasional SunBreak contributor Arne Christensen went down to watch some of the weekend’s deconstruction, noting that people up on the Viaduct were taking pictures of the ground through the gaps in the structure’s expansion joints.

Puget Sound Business Journal photographer Marcus Donner assembled this time-lapse video of the Viaduct work:

Relive the moment of collapse on YouTube from a variety of angles. The end of the southern end of an era.

Filed under News, Transportation

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