Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Seawall and a Viaduct for Seattle

After dropping off family at the SeaTac Airport I decided to take the East Marginal Way route rather than I-5 as it's always been more relaxed and less traffic. Wanted to do some shopping and go to my bank downtown or I would had headed back north on I-405. I got a surprise to find part of the Viaduct had been taken down in the Pioneer Square area and you drop to street level for maybe a 1/4 mile. They've been talking about taking down the built in 1950-1953 Alaskan Way Viaduct for years because it's a major Earthquake hazard. It seems like the work has actually started.

The Viaduct will be replaced by a 2 level tunnel that some say is the largest tunnel project ever. They may be forgetting the English Channel and a recent one going under the Alps?  They will use one of those large circular boring machines.  Don't know which direction it will take in the Denny Regrade area

The street level loop I took headed north

Entrance to Tunnel that will replace the Viaduct

Seattle Viaduct Demolition Time Lapse


What I hadn't heard when I was living here was that the Seawall along the waterfront is as much or more of a Earthquake threat as is the Viaduct. Not only was the waterfront built on filled in swamp that will easily liquefy but the Seawall was built in the early 1900's with  additions in the 1930's. It is currently a hodge-podge of wooden pilings, steel and cement. Here's a picture of the mix partly under the sidewalk and partly under the piers.

Seawall under the pier
""Fifteen businesses on Piers 54, 55, 56 and part of 57 will close down for nine months during the construction of the Elliott Bay Seawall. The city has provided those businesses $15 million to compensate them for the money lost due to the closure"".
Alaskan Way Viaduct - Earthquake Simulation

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The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

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