October 22, 2011 in News

Nine-day closure of Alaskan Way viaduct begins

Associated Press
Joshua Trujillo photo

Demolition begins on the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle on Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. The highway usually carries 110,000 cars per day and will be closed for 9 days as demolition begins. The highway, built in the 1950s, will be replaced with a deep bore tunnel. (AP photo/seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo)
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE (AP) — Call it “Viadoom” or a traffic inconvenience, Seattle’s nine-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is under way.

The closure of one of Seattle’s two north-south highways began at 7:30 p.m. Friday so crews can demolish the southern end of the aging, earthquake-vulnerable elevated road that runs along the waterfront. It is being replaced by a waterfront tunnel.

Washington Transportation Department spokesman Travis Phelps says workers blocked the on-ramps as the final cars and trucks cleared the roadway. The final flow of traffic was festive — with many motorists honking horns. Some initial demolition was planned Friday night.

A roller derby team and a motorcycle stunt team won a contest to spend 30 minutes showing off their skills on the empty viaduct on Saturday.

Transit officials have mailed people free bus tickets and added ferry trips across Elliott Bay. Still, there’s no shortage of fretting about where the 110,000 vehicles that take State Route 99 over the viaduct on a typical weekday will go.

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