Seattle City Council approves Alaskan Way Viaduct agreements with state of Washington
Yesterday, the Seattle City Council accepted the state-offered agreements on the Alaskan Way Viaduct with an 8-1 vote, moving forward with replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a deep bored tunnel solution. The series of agreements under Council Bill 117101 provide legally binding protections for the City of Seattle with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
The State's decision to built a tunnel was made when they signed the construction contract last month but the agreements ensure that the City has protections and commitments from the state to finish all the related projects, including local street improvements and improving the waterfront.
The agreement states that in order to assure the completion of the side projects, a separate $380 million fund must be established. The City is not waving its position on cost overruns however and clearly stated that the City and/or its citizens and property owners cannot be held responsible for any cost overruns on projects the state is responsible for. The agreement ensures reaffirms that the state will fund the tunnel.
The agreement with the state also authorizes preliminary design work to proceed until a final Record of Decision is made after the EIS Environmental Impact Statement) process is complete, which is expected late this summer.
“These agreements protect the City against third party claims and commit the state to work with the City to protect its neighborhoods from traffic impacts caused by the tolling of the tunnel, as well as ensuring all new infrastructure will meet City design standards,” said Tom Rasmussen, Councilmember and Transportation Committee chair in a press release.
In the press release, Council President Richard Conlin stated the vote "demonstrates our commitment to protecting the City’s best interests and taking the next critical steps in contracting with the state to advance the bored tunnel program.
"As we near the 10-year anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake, we recognize the last 10 years of a comprehensive public dialogue on this project and take pride in continuing this project’s momentum.”