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November 2, 2018

Say hello tunnel and goodbye viaduct: Mark your calendar for Feb. 2 party

Photo provided by WSDOT [enlarge]
Walk through the new tunnel Feb. 2 and enjoy the spectacular views from the viaduct one last time during the all-day celebration.

After more than seven years of fitful progress, the $3.3 billion Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project is nearly done — and soon it will be time to party.

The city of Seattle and Washington State Department of Transportation will hold a grand opening celebration Feb. 2-3 to mark completion of the new state Route 99 tunnel — and the final days of the 65-year-old viaduct.

Officials will hold a ribbon-cutting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, near the south tunnel portal.

The all-day celebration will give the public a chance to inspect the new tunnel on foot and take in the spectacular views from the viaduct one last time (granted, good visibility is not a given in February).

There will be entry points at the north portal, Battery Street Tunnel and the off-ramp at First Avenue and Seneca Street.

For all you planners, here's a list of the Feb. 2 events:

• 7:30 a.m.: Tunnel-to-viaduct 8K run/walk sponsored by HNTB

• 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (Sixth Avenue North between John and Mercer streets): North Hub access to the tunnel, learning activities, food trucks, life-size Bertha cutterhead mural

• 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (Pyramid Brewery): Shuttles to the North Hub, music, food trucks, learning activities

• 12:30-6 p.m. (Sixth Avenue between Harrison and Mercer street): Ticketed entrance to the tunnel

• 12:30-6 p.m. (Aurora Avenue North and Harrison Street): Ticketed entrance to the viaduct, community celebration and arts festival on the viaduct

• 12:30-6 p.m. (First Avenue and Seneca Street): Ticketed entrance to the viaduct, community celebration and art festival on the viaduct

At 8 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, there will be a 12-mile tunnel bike ride sponsored by the Cascade Bicycle Club.

The public is encouraged to register for timed tickets that will give people priority access to the tunnel and viaduct. The tickets are free and available on the event website, http://www.99stepforward.com.

Tickets for the Feb. 2 run/walk and Feb. 3 bike ride must be purchased separately. See the event website for more details.

The viaduct is scheduled to close permanently on Jan. 11 in preparation for opening the tunnel. The tunnel is slated to open in early February, followed by the demolition of the viaduct.

Seattle Tunnel Partners is the general contractor for the tunnel project.

Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. has a $93.7 million design-build contract to remove the 1.4-mile viaduct and the on- and off-ramps at Columbia and Seneca streets. Demolition is expected to take several months.

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