Seattle’s South Lake Union tech hub might not be as bustling as it would normally be, pre-pandemic, but when traffic and workers return to the neighborhood in force eventually, getting around will look much different.
The Washington State Department of Transportation shared a new video and photos showing the progress on work related to the SR 99 tunnel and the surface streets impacted by that huge undertaking.
Construction crews have reached milestones at both ends of the old Battery Street Tunnel, WSDOT said in a new blog post on Tuesday. The tunnel once carried SR 99 between Aurora Avenue North and the Alaskan Way Viaduct, but it was decommissioned after the new tunnel opened in February 2019.
The old tunnel’s mechanical and electrical systems were removed, new utilities were installed and the structure was filled with recycled concrete from the demolished Alaskan Way Viaduct. To fill the final seven feet of height, WSDOT said lightweight concrete was pumped through ventilation grates along Battery Street.
Check out before and after images:
Near the campuses of Amazon, Google, Facebook and others in South Lake Union, not far from the Space Needle, the neighborhood now more easily connects with the Uptown neighborhood, which was previously cut off by SR 99.
Highway lanes into and out of the Battery Street Tunnel that once prevented east-west travel between Denny Way and Mercer Street is now Seventh Avenue North. The new, three-block-long roadway offers bus lanes to improve transit travel times, new signalized intersections for safe east-west crossings, and will support future bicycle and pedestrian corridor improvements along Thomas Street.
Check out more images on the WSDOT Flickr page.
Work to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct once involved 30 separate projects. The checklist is nearing two remaining projects, WSDOT said, including rebuilding Alaskan Way along the waterfront, and the South Access Surface Streets Connections project near the city’s sports stadiums.