New video: Seattle’s historic viaduct is gone in just months as demolition transforms city’s waterfront

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The Alaskan Way Viaduct was an artery through the heart of downtown Seattle for more than 60 years, carrying people and goods along a stretch of the city’s waterfront. In just months, the historic highway was chewed up and trucked away, making way for a transformed section of the city that’s come out of the shadows of the elevated structure.

The Washington State Department of Transportation announced Monday that the last remaining portions of the roadway came down over the weekend. The 1.4 miles of concrete and steel between Pike Place Market and the stadiums have now been demolished and only a small section of cleanup and demolition remains.

A new video from WSDOT was released to mark the milestone, and in dramatic fashion it captures the precision work involved in removing a highway from a city. In some spots, the viaduct was located just inches from buildings, and car and pedestrian traffic kept moving down below as the process ground ahead.

The video features plenty of shots of heavy machinery poking at, cutting through and tearing away the structure — “reverse engineering” as it was called earlier this summer. Time-lapse portions of the video show on- and off-ramps and large sections of the highway disappearing as waterfront buildings emerge in a new light.

The viaduct, which was considered seismically vulnerable following the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake, was removed from Seattle’s waterfront as a part of a new program to transform that part of the city. Some traffic has already been moved to a deep new SR 99 tunnel, and a new Alaskan Way surface street will be built.

Check for project overviews and updates here.



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