The Alaskan Way Viaduct carried its final car on January 11, 2019—but before it was officially decommissioned, a parade of cars with a cacophony of horns packed on for one last drive. Traffic moved slow as drivers and passengers checked out the iconic view enjoyed by motorists since the viaduct first started towering over the waterfront in the 1950s.
For three weeks it stayed intact, just unused, and down on the ground, life was mostly the same. The predicted traffic nightmare wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, and Alaskan Way and the surrounding area kept chugging along with the same ceiling of freeway, just accompanied by an eerie quiet without the car noise above. It came to life again—without even involving cars—for one last car-free weekend, with 100,000 people turning out for a run, a bike ride, art, performances, and exhibits, shining a new light on the dilapidated freeway before demolition.
Photographer Alex Garland takes us through the last days of the viaduct: its last day open to traffic, the silence of the three-week closure, and Seattle’s big goodbye party.