If not for the construction crews and equipment, it would almost look like you could drive right into the new State Route 99 tunnel under Seattle already. 

At the north end of the tunnel, there are lots of little things going on, ranging from electrical work to trimming the decorative vegetation planted months ago. At the south end, there is still heavy-lifting with just a few more major concrete pours to go. 

By this time next week, you will probably look out and wonder why they can't open the tunnel early, before the target opening deadline of February 4. 

But deputy project administrator Dave Sowers with the Washington State Department of Transportation said there is still plenty of small work to do during the last few days leading up to the weekend grand opening on February 2 and 3. They're called "punch list items," like electrical work inside the tunnel, hooking up and testing stop lights outside the tunnel. 

But despite appearances, concrete still needs to cure, or set, to develop the strength it needs to handle cars and heavy trucks in the future. Curing alone can take a week or longer. 

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