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Seattle Tunnel Still On Budget But Behind Schedule

Photo: Ben Brooks

Under-promise and over-deliver. It's the quintessential rule of customer service. It's a rule that we're not sure the folks involved with the Highway 99 Tunnel project will realize until it's all too late.

A report released Thursday by Washington's Expert Review Panel for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program had some good news/bad news updates on the project.

Good news? Believe it or not the much-maligned project is not currently over budget. As of right now, the existing $3.145B budget is still likely to be the required amount needed to finish the project.

Bad news? If you already booked your hotel room to celebrate the 2015 grand opening of the tunnel (which is a really weird thing of you to do), tough luck. Even if crews worked 24/7 on the tunnel, it's unlikely they'll be done before 2016.

The expert panel predicts the project won't be done until the first half of 2016. And that could be optimistic, given what the rescue operation entails. Seattle Tunnel Partners is expected to release their own report by Friday on Bertha's restart, which remains delayed for various blockages and machinery failures. They would be wise not to try and fight this report's findings when it comes to timelines. Otherwise, it'll be clear they haven't learned that quintessential rule.
· Panel sees no light at end of Highway 99 tunnel before 2016 [Seattle Times]
· State panel says SR 99 project on budget and only slightly delayed — so far [PSBJ]
· All Seattle Tunnel coverage [Curbed Seattle]