When the new SR 99 tunnel opens under Seattle, it will be more than three years later than expected. So what are three more months of waiting? That depends who you ask.
First, let's clear up some confusion. Because we are really talking about two major projects here: the closure and teardown of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the opening of the new tunnel.
Multiple city leaders believed the viaduct's closure would happen in the second week of October, with the tunnel opening three weeks later. Now that timeline has been pushed three more months back, meaning further disruptions near downtown Seattle.
Kevin Clark is the CEO of Argosy Cruises, a company who relies on the Seattle waterfront for business. "Getting more information out of the city and the state has been our biggest challenge."
A three-month schedule change could have consequences on Argosy's busy season. "Does it push the construction into our summer season? And that's what we're still trying to decipher."
The January viaduct closure will come with cranes over Colman Dock and Pier 62.
Also see | Getting around the SR 99 closure
Seattle Councilmember Rob Johnson is Transportation Committee Vice Chair. Johnson says he's still trying to gather information, like how long the future viaduct demolition will cause disruptions. "Delay isn't necessarily a good thing on transportation projects."
Former state transportation chair Doug McDonald blames the city for the latest delay. "There is no Seattle transportation plan. Nowhere. "
McDonald believes it may be best to hold off opening the tunnel for three more months. "We haven't even begun to figure out how this and I-5 integrate. If they need a little more time to get the house ready for us to move in, I think that's better for us now than rushing forward just because there was a date."
Argosy CEO Kevin Clark adds, "It's still another possibly 3 or 4 years before we see the last of the construction fences." Clark and his waterfront colleagues do look forward to the end of the construction project.
Also see | A brief history of the Seattle viaduct
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan avoided reporter questions Tuesday at an event. Instead, she released the following statement that read in part:
"The City of Seattle is working hard to minimize the impact on Seattle residents, employers, and visitors during this challenging time – from investing in more Metro service to making sure the public right of way is clear to 24/7 monitoring of our streets."