Thursday, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) announced a weekend full of celebrations around the opening of the State Route 99 tunnel and closing of the Alaskan Way Viaduct on February 2 and 3—including a fun run and a bike ride through the tunnel and then looping back down the Viaduct for the last time before it’s demolished. Those who don’t want to ride or run can wander on the viaduct one last time for free.
The opening weekend marks the end of a three-week period where that stretch SR 99 will close completely while crews realign the freeway away from the viaduct and through the new tunnel.
Back in September, WSDOT announced that the viaduct would close for the last time to prepare for realignment of 99 starting January 11, 2019. While that closes off the viaduct to cars, it opens up an opportunity to use a car-free viaduct for walking, running, and biking. It also gives bikes and feet a chance to travel through the tunnel before any cars do.
February 2, the Tunnel to Viaduct run, an 8K sponsored by HNTB, one of the subcontractors working on the tunnel, will head south on the upper deck of the new tunnel and head back north on the lower deck of the viaduct and through the Battery Street Tunnel. Registration costs $35 to $50 depending on timing.
February 3, Cascade Bicycle Club is spearheading one final bike ride on a similar route, only using both decks of the tunnel before heading north on the lower deck of the viaduct for a total of 12.5 miles. This gives bikers that missed the Emerald City Ride over the spring—or aren’t intrepid enough to take matters into their own hands and sneak on—a last shot to see the highway’s views from above two wheels. Adult rider registration costs $40 for basic Cascade members or $36 for premium members. (Kids under 12 can come along at a discount.)
Those not registered for the bike or run event can still get onto the viaduct and into the tunnel with free, advance reservation for a tour throughout the weekend. Either way, runners, bikers, and other explorers have a chance to say their farewells and probably take a few selfies above the waterfront.
The rest of the weekend, which doesn’t require a ticket and largely takes place at Pyramid Brewery on the south end or Sixth Avenue between John and Mercer to the north, includes an interactive Lego model of the tunnel, a life-size Bertha mural, and other educational events, plus food trucks and music. A ribbon-cutting on the south end of the tunnel will officially commemorate the opening on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
- 99 Step Forward [WSDOT]