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Road built to replace Alaskan Way Viaduct opening within 2 weeks

Part of Alaskan Way and Elliott Way will be given the honorary designation Dzidzilalich, which means "little crossing-over place" in Lushootseed.

SEATTLE — A ceremony on Monday marked the beginning of the end of a years-long project to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct and transform Seattle's waterfront.

Alaskan Way re-opened to traffic between King and Union streets in August of 2022. Elliott Way, the new surface street which will connect the waterfront and Belltown, was built in the footprint of the former Alaskan Way Viaduct and is nearly complete, according to information from the city.

"The viaduct has cut off downtown Seattle and the rest of Seattle from the waterfront for decades, and so this project is all about re-establishing those connections,” said Eldon Tam, COO of Friends of Waterfront Seattle. “And it also gets a lot of the traffic away from the Waterfront, if they’re crossing through from north to south, so the Waterfront itself can once again be a much more pedestrian-friendly, personal, like human-centered experience.”

The new section of the road is expected to open within the next two weeks which means Alaskan Way and Elliott Way will be open to traffic from the Stadium District at King Street to Bell Street on the north end. 

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell helped to introduce the new street. 

"A livable, thriving city, with a strong freight industrial and maritime economy— that’s what this represents," said Harrell.

The occasion was marked with a new honorary name for a portion of Alaskan Way and Elliott Way: Dzidzilalich (pronounced dzee-dzuh-lah-leech,) which is a nod to the important role the waterfront served for many different tribal communities who utilized the area. 

The waterfront was a fishing village, a center for trade and a place where many different tribal communities traveled. The name, Dzidzilalich, means "little crossing-over place," in Lushootseed, which is one of the languages of the Coast Salish people, according to the Waterfront Seattle project website. 

The Suquamish and Muckleshoot Tribal Councils provided guidance to the Seattle Mayor's Office, the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects and the Seattle Department of Transportation in the process of selecting the name. 

The honorary designation will be added to Alaskan Way from South Dearborn Street to Pine Street and to Elliott Way between Pine Street and Bell Street. Neither the legal name of the streets nor the official addresses along the streets will change. 

Bob Donegan, co-owner of Ivar's, said he looks forward to an increased number of visitors as summer draws near paired with the project unveiling.

"Last year, we were up to 5.8 million (visitors) compared to the 1.3 million in 2020 during Coronavirus," Donegan said. "We're already ahead of that pace in 2023." 

He added, "With 290 cruise calls coming this summer, and 1.4 million passengers, it's going to be a good summer." 


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