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Four teams vying to build viaduct replacement tunnel

By: Scott Gutierrez
November 25, 2009

Link to Original Article

The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce had the list on contractors interested in the tunnel project. WSDOT posted it on the Web site for the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement project.

According to the article, the list includes:

Potential contractors were to submit qualifications by Nov. 16.

Requests for proposals are expected to be issued in March 2010. A final team will be chosen by the end of next year to build a massive tunnel boring machine and dig the 2-mile tunnel beneath downtown beginning in 2011. Construction is expected to end in 2015.

Construction already is under way on the south end, where a new elevated highway will replace the existing one between King Street and Holgate.

The $1.9 billion tunnel is part of an overall $4.2 billion project to replace the aging viaduct with a deep-bore tunnel. At 54 feet in diameter, it would be the largest highway tunnel in the U.S.

Mayor-elect Mike McGinn campaigned against the tunnel until the City Council voted to endorse an agreement outlining Seattle's commitment to $930 million in tunnel-related work. McGinn backed down from pledging to fight the tunnel, but has said he is still concerned about a provision in the tunnel legislation that puts Seattle property owners who "benefit" from the tunnel on the hook for cost overruns.

In case you missed it, Attorney General Rob McKenna was asked this week on KUOW about the tunnel and whether Seattle could be forced to pay cost overruns. McKenna said his office has not issued an opinion on whether the provision is enforceable, despite some reports to the contrary.

"It really begs the more important question as to whether or not the state would seek to enforce it," McKenna told "Weekday" host Steve Scher. "This is going to figured out by agreement with the city and the state Legislature."

On the law itself, he said:

"Once it's adopted, it's our job to defend it. A law which is adopted by the Legislature is presumptively constitutional. But I think there is a lot of attention being paid to that language that is overwrought, quite frankly. It's really going to come down to whether or not the Legislature wants to try and hold Seattle's feet to the fire and they don't do that through a law, they do that through the state transportation budget. That's where their real leverage is."


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