Crews have begun unearthing ramps to the new State Route 99 tunnel under downtown Seattle
The tunnel’s on- and off-ramps in SODO are buried underneath the current roadway, and contractors began tearing up the roadway after the SR 99 ramps to Atlantic Street and South Royal Brougham Way closed Friday night.
Photos taken Monday of the work show portions of the tunnel ramp’s walls and exposed geofoam, which is a substitute for fill soil. Those large, blocks of geofoam are often used in construction and are holding up the current roadway.
The tunnel ramps were built in 2013 and then buried and paved over to create construction bypass lanes and ramps on top of it.
The work means crews are already getting a jump start on preparing the tunnel to open in early February. Contractors will continue to unearth the ramps and begin permanent barrier and wall work before the full viaduct closure.
The viaduct will close for good Friday at 10 p.m. and SR 99 will not be accessible from the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel to Spokane Street until the tunnel opens.
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