SEATTLE — As the Alaskan Way Viaduct closes and drivers prepare for possible traffic nightmares, the Seattle Aquarium is eagerly awaiting their dream of quieter surroundings.

"I think it will be a little more natural and quiet here. We are in an urban environment but there's been an awful lot of noise happening here," explained Seattle Aquarium Mammals and Birds Curator Traci Belting.  

"Not only for our animals but for our guests and everyone here on the waterfront, to be able to really enjoy the natural sounds that are down here instead of always hearing traffic and construction noise."

Staff monitor noise regularly around the Aquarium to make sure it's not too loud for the animals. Anything louder than 100 decibels concerns them, Belting said.

"Animals use sound a lot in their socialization and the way they work with each other," Belting said. "If there is a loud sound or there is a sound that is novel and they're not used to hearing it, they're going to react. That's one of the behavioral observations that we're going to track."

For Belting and others, the viaduct closure comes as a welcome change, not just for the wildlife, but for the humans, too. 

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