The massive SR 99 Tunnel Project to replace Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct reaches a major milestone Wednesday as ground is broke on a pit to mark the starting point for the machine that will dig under downtown.
The pit is west of CenturyLink Field, on the west side of First Avenue South between South King Street and South Royal Brougham Way.
Gov. Chris Gregoire is one of several local elected leaders who took up a golden shovel for the ceremonial groundbreaking.
The drilling machine that will actually dig the underground tunnel is currently being built in Japan and will be shipped to Seattle on a barge. It is scheduled to begin tunneling next summer.
The new tunnel is scheduled to open in late 2015.
Last October, WSDOT crews closed the Alaskan Way Viaduct for 11 days to tear down the southern portion of it, making way for the start of the new tunnel.