Controlling dust, noise priority in Seattle Viaduct demolition

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SEATTLE, Wash. — As the new Highway 99 Tunnel opens to traffic in February, demolition will get underway on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. It will cost $75 million dollars to tear down the more than 60-year-old structure.

The viaduct will soon become part of a former Seattle, making way for a new waterfront and park. But the noise will get louder before it’s officially gone as demolition gets underway to bring down a piece of Seattle history.

“We are going to have people working in multiple areas along the viaduct,” said Phil Wallace, the senior operations manager with the lead contractor on the demolition, Kiewit Infrastructure West.

The project will take roughly six months to complete. Workers will start the demolition at the Columbia Street on-ramp and the move north.

The structure will be taken down in sections, starting with the top deck, then the lower deck and then the columns.

“It’s a much more methodical approach. We are mindful of the community we are working in and moving it along in a safe and efficient manner,” said Brian Nielsen, the Alaskan Way Viaduct administrator with the Washington State Department of Transportation.

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Controlling dust, the State said, will be a top priority.

Industrial fabric and netting will be used to protect the walls and windows of buildings and the ground below.

Sensors will used to make sure noise and vibrations are kept within limits.

The project goal is to be finished by June 1, 2019, for the busy summer season – and that’s good news according to waterfront businesses.

“We have to be flexible because we know that they’ll find things they didn’t anticipate,” said Bob Donegan, the president of Ivar’s.

Another project goal – minimal impacts.

Alaskan Way will be reduced to one lane in both directions with full access to Coleman Dock.

Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square and the waterfront will all remain open and ready for business.

“Everybody will be open,” Donegan said. “There will be all kinds of special promotions from the waterfront and downtown businesses encouraging people.”

The old will soon transform into the new, in a growing and ever-changing Seattle.

“It’s going to continue to be an amazing place,” Donegan said.

by Kara Kostanich | KOMO News

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