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Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program Begins Last Project to Make Final Connection on Railroad Way

SEATTLE, WA — Work is now underway on the final project of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, which will build a new Railroad Way and make other significant improvements near the south end of the State Route 99 Tunnel.

The South Access Surface Street Connections project will improve local street access and provide flexible and safe space for large event crowds traveling between the new Alaskan Way, Seattle Ferry Terminal, Pioneer Square, and the stadium district.

Contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) expect to complete construction in late 2022.

Details of the Work Ahead
  • A rebuilt Railroad Way that creates a multimodal plaza connection between the Seattle waterfront and the sports stadiums, passing near the SR 99 tunnel operations building and at a new Charles Street. This work is partially funded by the city of Seattle's Waterfront Seattle Program.
  • An extended north-south bike/pedestrian path connecting the Seattle waterfront with the sports stadiums.
  • A rebuilt First Avenue South, from South Dearborn Street to South Royal Brougham Way.
  • New sidewalks and street lighting near First Avenue South, where WSDOT is restoring streets.
  • Final paving of South Dearborn Street.
  • A new SR 99 tunnel equipment garage at the tunnel's south operations building.

"With this project, we'll complete the viaduct program," said Omar Jepperson, WSDOT Administrator, Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. "We've worked closely with our partner agencies and neighbors on this project and look forward to delivering new transportation connections that tie into the improvements Seattle is making to the downtown waterfront."

Seattle's Office of the Waterfront is constructing 20 acres of parks and public transportation infrastructure along the central waterfront where the Alaskan Way Viaduct stood for decades.

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"The Railroad Way pedestrian connection will be a gateway between the waterfront, Pioneer Square, and the stadiums," said Marshall Foster, Director of the Seattle Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects. "The new waterfront is being built and opened to the public as each project is ready; this construction brings us another step closer to completing the entire program."

"Since the removal of the viaduct, we have greatly anticipated the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program reconnecting Pioneer Square to the waterfront," said Lisa Howard, Executive Director of the Alliance for Pioneer Square. "This project's completion will improve connection to Pioneer Square businesses, public amenities, transportation, and the stadiums, while ensuring traffic flows efficiently to and through the neighborhood."

"Lumen Field was intentionally designed with its front door facing west, so the Public Stadium Authority is excited for completion of the Railroad Way amenities," said Fred Mendoz, Chair of the Washington State Public Stadium Authority. "The gateway, passage, and Stadium Plaza will create an inviting, pedestrian-friendly connection to Lumen Field and the stadium district from the new central waterfront promenade. We appreciate WSDOT and the city of Seattle's visionary work in advancing these Railroad Avenue improvements as part of the larger Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program."

"The Ballpark PFD is excited to see the Railroad Way project come to fruition. It provides the vital 'last mile' connection to and from the revitalized waterfront for fans and visitors alike. This is only good news for our neighborhood, city, and region," said Stacy Graven, Chair of the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District.

WSDOT's Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program has brought significant transportation improvements to and through Seattle, the Port of Seattle, and local neighborhoods. In 2019, WSDOT opened a two-mile-long tunnel under Seattle, completed demolition of more than two miles of viaduct and permanently closed and sealed the Battery Street Tunnel. Drivers also benefit from a mile-long stretch of new SR 99 highway near Seattle's stadiums and an overpass that allows traffic to bypass train blockages near Seattle's busiest port terminal. The final project of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program completes surface street improvements near both north and south SR 99 tunnel portals.

The $3.35-billion Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program included 30 projects and was funded by state, federal, and local sources.

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