washington state department of transportation

Traffic Congestion Down, But Costs To Commuters Still Up

This article, published by Seattle PI, mentions Matt Rosenberg of Discovery Institute: Matt Rosenberg, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center for Regional Development, cited the Seattle-area’s numbers on the Cascadia Prospectus, which showed the annual cost to Puget Sound commuters at $1.59 billion — the highest since TTI first began publishing the report. The rest of the article Read More ›

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 ›

Bruce Agnew, Tim Ceis – On Deep Bored Tunnel Option

Subbing for Dori Monson, KIRO Radio’s Frank Shiers enlists Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis and Cascadia Center Director Bruce Agnew for a discussion of the advantages of a deep bored tunnel to replace the earthquake-prone, elevated, Alaskan Way Viaduct along Seattle’s downtown waterfront on State Route 99. MP3 here.

Deep Bored Tunnel To Replace Alaskan Way Viaduct – Latest Information

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and King County Executive Ron Sims in January 2009 proposed to replace the seismically vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct along Seattle's downtown waterfront on State Route 99 with an inland deep bored tunnel. Legislation authorizing and providing substantial funding for the tunnel passed the state senate and house, and on May 12 was signed into law by Gov. Gregoire. The tunnel is expected to cost $1.2 to $2.2 billion, most likely $1.9 billion, including a cushion for cost overruns. The legislation provides $2.8 billion for tunnel construction and Viaduct replacement. Other, related projects - funded by the city, county and Port of Seattle - would bring the total package's cost to $4.2 billion.  Here is the bill, as approved. Links to media coverage and key documents follow. Deep Bored Tunnel Bill Signed Into Law: News Round-up, 5/13/09 Tunnel FAQs, Cascadia Center House OKs SR 99 Tunnel - News & Commentary, 4/22-24/09 Yakima Valley Fruit Growers Support Deep Bore Tunnel, KIRO-AM & Seattle P-I, 4/13/09 "Deep Bore Tunnel Is Best Replacement Option," Yakima Herald-Republic, 4/12/09 99 Corridor Coalition Bored Tunnel Program Update, 3/26/09 "The Time Has Come To Replace Viaduct With Tunnel, Seattle Times, 3/26/09 "Officials Give Viaduct Replacement Details To Ballard Residents," Seattle P-I, 3/23/09 "Expert: Viaduct Bored Tunnel Would Be World Class Project," Seattle P-I, 3/20/09 "Senate Passes Bill To Replace Viaduct With Tunnel," Seattle Times, 3/4/09 SR 99 Deep Bored Tunnel Project Fact Sheets And Maps, Washington State Department Of Transportation, 2/24/09 "WSDOT: Deep Bored Tunnel Would Be Safer In Earthquake," KOMO-AM 1000, 1/31/09 WSDOT: No Comparison Between Boston's "Big Dig" And SR 99 Tunnel, Tacoma News Tribune, 1/26/09 "The Viaduct Decision's Next Step: Tolling," Crosscut, 1/20/09 Deep Bored Tunnel Chosen: Jan.13-16 Media & Govt. Links (Radio, TV, Newspapers, State of WA, more) - includes Cascadia statement More here.   Read More ›