Letters to the Editor

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VIADUCT: Tunnel’s the wrong idea in the wrong place

Letter by Alinda Sue Harrison, Tacoma on March 31, 2011 at 3:23 pm with 8 Comments »
April 1, 2011 9:00 am

Re: “Don’t let tunnel critics drive up costs with delays” (editorial, 3-31).

Why shouldn’t the people of Seattle vote on the state Route 99 tunnel? In opinion polls, only 35 percent of the people approved of the tunnel option. That means 65 percent of the people didn’t. I can understand why.

Look at where they are building it. That whole waterfront area is nothing but landfill. There is a sign across Alaskan Way from the viaduct commemorating an island that became part of the city’s waterfront after enough garbage was dumped into the area to fill the span between the waterfront and the island.

The planned tunnel goes under the foundations of some of Seattle’s most historic buildings, most of them built along roads that were elevated a full story because of the swampiness and instability of the area. Take the Underground Seattle tour sometime and see if you still think digging a tunnel there is such a great idea. I know I wouldn’t want to be in a tunnel there during an earthquake.

There are alternative to building the tunnel. They are going to have to set them in place anyhow to direct traffic during the years that the tunnel is being built. Why not make the alternatives permanent and forget the tunnel?

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. whatIdid says:

    During the debate about the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the head of WDOT stated they wouldn’t toll it because ‘there are to many alternate routes’… kooky.

  2. Roncella says:

    Alinda, Your letter makes alot of sense.

    I am no expert in the construction of tunnels, however its not brain surgery to figure out that a tunnel built in the area they want one built is the most ridicules idea anyone could imagine.

    With all those brainy liberals living and working in the downtown area of Seattle one would think they could build a safe improvement costing alot less than the tunnel they want built.

  3. Ronc – have you ever been in the Seattle Bus Tunnel?

  4. Roncella, it is not a liberal/conservative thing. In fact, you will find that there is a huge opposition in Seattle across the spectrum to the tunnel, and it has been this way for years. If anything, the most “liberal” urbanists up there are very much against it.

    This is about transportation dollars, federal funding and huge infrastructure contracts.

  5. I don’t suppose there is a fleet of geology experts who have studied the ground where the tunnel will go and decided it is as safe as any alternative.
    Just wondering because we certainly don’t want this to be a project pushed through by a group of socialist, neo-Marxists who don’t care about representative democracy.

  6. The trouble is, many in seattle who oppose the tunnel are also opposed to the viaduct, and all other options. They would sooner have the viaduct torn down and replaced with another bike path, and to heck with motorists.

    But I have a problem with spending taxpayer money to improve the seattle waterfront. I say repair and reinforce the existing viaduct, and place tolls on all of the exits. Screw mcginn and the rest of the environmentalist nut jobs up there.

  7. truthbusterguy says:


    I never agree with you,,,,,,,,,,,,, until today. I think we are thinking alike, scary uh?

    There are sure to find dead indians and hold up this project for year while the tribes fight over the bones.

    You also have to question a project when the seattle unions are willing to throw their own boy, the mayor, under the bus to get their hands on these dollars that they can turn around and donate to democrats.

    Also many people out there don’t understand PLA’s.


    The PLA’s increases the cost up to 9% because the city will be FORCED to use union workers and pay the very high prevailing wage. Until WA state becomes a right to work state all of these projects should stop.

  8. lawrencejprice says:

    I don’t live in Seattle; the condition of the infrastructure in that city is of their own making. They should have made a decision 20 years ago about the viaduct instead of wasting it waffling year after year. I am all for the state tearing down the viaduct and putting in a four lane surface street, with really nice bike lanes just for the mayor who says he prefers to ride a bicycle but doesn’t. Then abandon that whole section of 99 and give it over to the city. Obviously the cite knows better and our state infrastructure dollars can be spent elsewhere. I believe I405 should be the main north south corridor for the west side, not I5 and its baby side track highway 99.

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