Topic

Alaskan Way Viaduct

Why We Should Stick To Our Consensus For A Deep-bore Tunnel

I served on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Stakeholders Committee that studied options to replace the Viaduct. After conducting 16 meetings and hearing from 23 expert witnesses, a large majority of the stakeholders recommended further review of, or outright support for, the deep bore tunnel. The stakeholders also studied the “surface option” favored by City Council candidate Mike O’Brien, and then the Read More ›

Deep Bored Tunnel Bill Is Signed Into Law – News Round-up

“Viaduct-replacing Tunnel Bill Gets Governor’s Signature,” Seattle P-I.com, 5/12/09 “Governor Gregoire Signs Viaduct Tunnel Bill,” Puget Sound Business Journal, 5/12/09 “It’s Done: With Pen To Paper, Gregoire Gives Seattle A Tunnel,” Cascadia Prospectus, 5/12/09

SR 99 Deep Bored Tunnel Costs – Radio Transcript

(Excerpt) Dave Ross:.....Bruce, I think it's fair to say that the whole tunnel idea was dead until you guys resuscitated it. Bruce Agnew: Well, we did bring some international experts who'd had experience in building tunnels in Shanghai, Madrid, and North America and they told us that the tunnel would be around a billion dollars and I agree with the Governor. The DOT added a 27% contingency, and they're currently at $1.9B for the tunnel. So if you look at worldwide experience in tunneling and advances in technology, the Governor's figures are absolutely correct. The other important factor is that the DOT decided to go with a single bore versus a double bore, which means less labor, less materials and one machine versus two....(Additionally) Sound Transit's bids on the Beacon Hill transit tunnel came in about 22% below estimate and just, I think it was last week, San Francisco BART's bids on a tunnel came in at 45% below the engineering bids and there were five bidders. So there's a very hungry environment for contractors and the sooner we get this bored machine going, the better we're going to be. {......} Dave Ross: As you've mentioned, there have been deep-bored tunnels done before, in Beacon Hill, yes. But in Beacon Hill, that's mainly residential. There are no gigantic buildings you're going under for that tunnel. Has it ever been done? Has a tunnel this large ever been bored under a major urban area before? Bruce Agnew: Absolutely. Shanghai, Madrid, Paris. They're looking at a deep-bored tunnel for a Port of Miami and the I-710 freeway in Los Angeles.That's why I think the DOT and the project team came around on this is because they got the information about the 20 projects that are currently underway around the world and those that have been completed on time and on budget. The average costs of those was somewhere around 350 million dollars a mile so even if you take a look at the DOT's budget, which estimates it would be about 1.17 billion per tunnel-mile, there's a lot of fudge factor built into that. {...} Bruce Agnew:....the other point I would make to your listeners is that you've got to take a look at the history of our state DOT in the last five to ten years in terms of bringing projects in on time and on budget. You look at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the I-5 widening in Everett which were built under a new design-build procedure which brings in the talent of the private sector early on. Those are good examples, albeit they're highway projects, but they're good examples of the management of this DOT in terms of (completing within budget) these projects and that story isn't told enough, I think. Dave Ross: You are complimenting the DOT on bringing things in on...You're a conservative think tank, right? Bruce Agnew: Well yes, so we applaud government efficiency. And as someone who has a beach cabin up north in Snohomish County, I go through Everett all the time and it's just remarkable what that widening project has done in terms of traffic flow through Everett. It's great to see that. Full transcript Audio of full interview 12/08 - 4/09 Tunnel News & Opinion Read More ›

House OKs SR 99 Tunnel – News & Commentary

CASCADIA IN THE NEWS Cascadia’s Bruce Agnew Discusses Tunnel Approval, & Cost Issues, KIRO-FM 97.3, Dave Ross Show, 4/28/09 “Seattle Tunnel Would Be The World’s Widest,” Daily Journal Of Commerce, 4/24/09 Cascadia’s Bruce Agnew interviewed on Tunnel Decision, KOMO 1000 AM, Seattle, 4/23/09 OTHER ARTICLES “Lawmakers Approve Viaduct Tunnel,” Seattle P-I, 4/24/09 “Viaduct Tunnel Bill Passes Legislature,” KING5-TV, 4/24/09 “Should Read More ›

Seattle Tunnel Would Be The World’s Widest

The state legislature has approved a deep bored tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and Cascadia Center was instrumental in educating decision-makers. This recent article highlights our role.

.....As recently as last December, the bored tunnel was dismissed as too expensive by the viaduct project team. But then the Washington State Department of Transportation realized it could build a tunnel with a single bore instead of a double bore, and the cost estimate fell by almost $900 million. “It's less labor, less materials, one machine versus two,” said John White, viaduct program director for WSDOT.

...Last year two 51-foot diameter tunnels were built in Shanghai, China, according to a report by Arup that was commissioned by the Cascadia Center, which is part of the Discovery Institute. A forceful advocate for the bored tunnel, Cascadia paid Arup $35,000 for that report, according to Cascadia's policy director, Bruce Agnew. In early December, while the viaduct project team was eliminating the bored tunnel from its list of possibilities to replace the viaduct, Cascadia brought together a group of tunneling experts who wrote a letter to WSDOT saying its cost estimates for the bored tunnel were too high. The group wrote to WSDOT Deputy Secretary David Dye and said a bored tunnel could be “completed in the 60 months period with a price of $2 billion or less.” That letter was authored by Richard Prust of Arup, Vladimir Khazak of HNTB, Dick Robbins of the Robbins Co., independent consultant Kern Jacobson and Gerhard Sauer of the Sauer Corp.

(Full article)

More info.:

Cascadia's Bruce Agnew Discusses Tunnel Approval, & Cost Issues, KIRO-FM 97.3, Dave Ross Show, 4/28/09

Cascadia's Bruce Agnew Interviewed On Tunnel Decision, KOMO 1000 AM, Seattle, 4/23/09

Read More ›

New SR 99 Deep Bore Tunnel Project Fact Sheets And Maps From WSDOT

Two community open houses were held earlier this week, in Ballard and West Seattle, by the Washington State Department of Transportation, King County DOT, and the City of Seattle DOT. At the events, WSDOT made available some new fact sheets and maps to help answer questions about the inland downtown deep bored tunnel picked to replace the earthquake-prone Alaskan Way Read More ›

The Viaduct Decision’s Next Step: Tolling

In an interview with Ross Reynolds on KUOW-FM – MP3 audio file here – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said it was “very likely” that tolling would be applied to the new deep bored tunnel planned to replace the seismically vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct on State Route 99 in Seattle. (A state rendering of the bored tunnel’s cross-section is below, right.) Read More ›