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July 31, 2014

Tunnel's portal pit is 80 feet deep

Photo by Benjamin Minnick [enlarge]

Thousands of drivers rolling along state Route 99 are unaware that a giant 80-foot-deep pit has been dug just west of the highway at Harrison Street.

On Wednesday WSDOT gave the media a peek at the pit that eventually will be the north portal for the 1.7-mile tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Workers with Seattle Tunnel Partners are busy building roadway decks and infrastructure inside the pit.

The portal will connect to a reconfigured section of Route 99 that Guy F. Atkinson Construction is building to the north. Demolishing the bridge over Broad Street will require closing Route 99 for four days in late August. Crews will replace a section of the highway that crosses above Broad Street.

Broad Street was closed in early June and crews are filling it with recycled concrete, excavated dirt and other materials to bring it up to grade.

Atkinson is building new on- and off-ramps at Republican and Harrison streets, extending Sixth Avenue North between Harrison and Mercer streets, and rerouting water and sewer lines from beneath Route 99 near Harrison Street.

WSDOT also is replacing 81 damaged or cracked concrete road panels that make up the highway lanes between South Spokane and South Holgate streets, repairing an expansion joint at the northbound Route 99 exit to Seneca Street, and removing ivy from the viaduct.

WSDOT will close both directions of Route 99 between South Spokane Street and Valley Street starting at 10 p.m. Aug. 22. The section of Route 99 between Spokane Street and the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel will reopen at 5 a.m. on Aug. 25, but the highway will remain closed through the tunnel to Valley Street until 5 a.m. Aug. 27.

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