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WSDOT digs up five-year-old tunnel onramp as opening day approaches

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There’s a new onramp to the new tunnel—but it’s been here all along!

Surprise: It’s a secret onramp.
Courtesy of WSDOT

The tunnel that’s set to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct in less than a month has been in the works for a good long while. Digging started in July 2013 with an estimated completion date of December 2015, but a couple of long-term delays—one lasting a full two years—drew out the process quite a bit.

The tunnel’s now set to open in February, a few years after its original target date. And while the drilling was long-delayed, it wasn’t the only work that was done to bring the tunnel online. For example: Most of an onramp to the new tunnel was built near the stadiums in 2013, but it’s been buried underneath temporary lanes and ramps for going on six years.

Starting this past weekend, WSDOT started the process of unearthing those ramps to prepare to connect roadways through the tunnel. The viaduct closes permanently on January 11 to allow for three weeks of rearranging those road entrances, but WSDOT got a head start by closing the viaduct ramps closest to the new onramp the weekend before.

A time-lapse video released by WSDOT shows a time-lapse of the temporary roadway being dismantled and the new onramp re-emerging from the ground. It’s a first peek at how things will look once everything’s in place.

There’s a lot more realigning to do, which starts when the viaduct closes on January 11. The new tunnel will open in early February—and after opening day, the viaduct will be demolished.

Alaskan Way Viaduct

Alaskan Way Viaduct, , WA