Tunnel Wins Vote in Seattle

A long simmering debate over how to deal with a damaged inner city freeway has seemingly found a conclusion as voters in Seattle have approved a plan to begin work on replacing the freeway with a tunnel.

More than 60% of voters are in favor of replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel beneath the city -- a plan opposed by many, including the current mayor.

"Councilmember Mike O'Brien, a tunnel foe, called it a "decisive" result, and said "the people of Seattle are ready to move forward." He called on tunnel opponents to take the loss graciously and work to make the tunnel the best possible project for the city.

But not all opponents were satisfied. Anti-tunnel activist Elizabeth Campbell issued a statement calling the Referendum 1 vote "far from a decisive victory" and vowed to continue her efforts.

The $2 billion tunnel is the most controversial part of the $3.1 billion state project to replace Seattle's creaky double-decker waterfront highway that was damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake."

Full Story: Voters backing Seattle tunnel; fight may finally be over



Seattle is DOOMED...

Seattle's proposed bored tunnel is an engineering atrocity. It will further destabilize soft fill and watery soils beneath downtown towers. It will lead to the demolition of historic Pioneer Square buildings and others above and nearby its entire length. Subsurface alteration of underground water flows and pressures predict catastrophe.

Two inextricably related street rearrrangements are likewise atrocious engineering.

Mercer West 'widening' of Mercer Street insensibly redirects 20,000+ cars and freight trucks via a dangerously steep hillclimb/descent through high-density residential Queen Anne neighborhood to the tunnel's north portal. This traffic pattern adds to the Lake Union segment of the Mercer corridor to I-5, derisively known as the Mercer Mess. Mercer Street is being reconstructed with the hope of improving traffic flow 'while' reducing capacity and adding stoplights. In other words, the currently overwhelmed Mercer Mess will have less capacity to handle more traffic that is redirected through high-density residential and pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods.

The currrent design for Seattle's waterfront boulevard Alaskan Way sans the double-deck viaduct Hwy SR99 is in no way capable of handling more traffic expected with either the bored tunnel or any sensible SR99 replacement option. The recommended surface boulevard option supposedly studied (a 6-lane couplet) is impossibly impractical.

I charge Washington State & Seattle DOTs with numerous criminal violations of their legal obligation to serve the public. Virtually all DOT studies were "rigged" to achieve predetermined outcomes. The planning process was unecessarily lengthened to present a plethora of least worthy options to honest and dishonestly misled citizens.

Take this as a warning. If the bored tunnel is built, its calamitous collapse is unavoidable and unrepairable. Seattle is doomed.

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