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VIADUCT: Wouldn’t tunnel be dangerous, too?

Letter by Michael M. Lovezzola, Puyallup on April 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm with 28 Comments »
April 1, 2011 2:50 pm

I must be missing something. The effect of an earthquake on the Alaskan Way Viaduct is understood. But I have not noticed any discussion of the effect of an earthquake on the proposed tunnel that would replace the viaduct.

Being in the tunnel during an earthquake sounds pretty bad to me.

Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. I would not want to be caught in/on either during the next jiggle and shake.

  2. hortonpeak says:

    But, then the view once the viaduct is gone will be awesome. Me thinks the tunnel has very little to do with earthquakes but a bunch to do about making rich folks richer.

  3. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Don’t worry, the same engineers that designed the Sprage off ramp are the same that designed the tunnel. I hope they got a new slide rule following their last screwup.

    What you better be afraid of is cost overruns. Ask a DOT official the last time a major DOT managed project came in on schedule and budget. The answer is NEVER.

  4. klthompson says:

    Seattle doesn’t care about safety as long as someone else pays for the construction.

  5. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Hortonpeark, is that all you have, insults.

    Show me a major project the DOT accomplished on cost and schedule. I have proff I what I say, now prove me wrong.

    Tag, your it sir.

  6. hortonpeak says:

    Provide your “proff”. You made the statement, I do not need to provide, “proff”. Support your position since you made it. Awaiting your, “proff”. Tag, you are it. Or, tag you’r it, sir.

  7. hortonpeak says:

    However, taxedenough, I do admire your willingness to participate. I think should we have the opportunity to discuss many of these topics over a beer – or beverage of choice – we would find many areas of agreement and could educate each other. Meantime, a little less hyperbole and a bit more thought would be welcomed – well that was snarky. Have a nice weekend since the “news” tribune is off-duty until Monday.

  8. whatIdid says:

    “Wouldn’t tunnel be dangerous, too?” Christine and Co. will worry about that later.

    I can’t think of any Taxedenough… and I can’t help but be reminded that in only a few weeks after the “voters” decided to pay for a no bid contract to build the new Narrows Toll Bridge for $350,ooo,ooo it went to $850,ooo,ooo… BAM! Just like that.

  9. hortonpeak says:

    Whatidid, “no bid”, “voters”, “Bam”, “just like that”. Please provide supporting evidence. By the way, I for one, needing to cross the “Narrows Bridge” periodically love it. Gives me a few hours back to my life.

  10. TaxedEnough,

    Off the top of my head, I can remember the project DOT supervised last summer/early fall where ‘panels’ or some road work done between Pierce and Thurston County was completed under budget and time. This was the project where I-5 was closed at night (sections).

    You might also go here, http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/completed.htm, and you can view projects which came in under or at budget. Of course we can argue over the definition of ‘significant’ as it relates to your statement.

    As for the LTE…. I don’t want to be anywhere near a large city when/if we have another large earthquake. However, I was talking with an engineer who indicaated the proposed tunnel plan is designed to withstand a very large earthquake. Hope we don’t have to find out.

  11. Don’t use the DOT.

    Use the same cheap contractor that the City of Tumwater used for their improvements on Littlerock Road.

    They went belly up (lowest bid is the best, huh?)

    Hortons – do you have an “it sir”?

  12. I recall one wonderful friday afternoon of a Memorial Day weekend, before the new bridge.

    It only took about 2 hours to get from 12th and Jackson to Hwy 16.

    I usually smile and tell the toll takers a joke when I stop and pay.

  13. whatIdid says:

    Remember all the corroded cable for the new bridge?

  14. Tacoma Narrows Bridge final cost? $735 million ($114 million under budget.)

  15. PAGIFAL1 says:

    Isn’t that the same outfit that built the R.H. Thompson Expressway bridges?
    Tslk about bridges to nowhere, Seattle had them.

  16. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Last Oct. I was at the Narrows Bridge toll meeting in Gig Harbor. The subject of the meeting was the new photo tolling plan that was in a Seaquist and Kilmer sponsered bill. The CAC, Citizen Advisory Committee, was giving a presentation the the CAC, Kilmer, Seaquist and Jan Angel. The public and local media was in the room. A question was asked by a CAC Board member Jim Pasin about multi million dollar projects managed by the DOT. Mr. Pasin asked the DOT Dept Head for data on the large projects that came in on budget and on schedule. Mr. Pasin was told that in his 22 years in the DOT not a single project had come in on schedule and budget. He started to explain but he was stopped by Seaquist and Kilmer because media was in the room. I am sure this is in the minutes of that meeting.

    That’s my proof. sorry for the sp errors but I am a graduate of the King County, dummied down public school system and have fat fingers.

  17. whatIdid says:

    Tacoma Narrows Bridge final cost? $735 million ($114 million under budget.)
    … only if you use the new “progressive” nobody’s feelings get hurt math… The advisory vote was based on a $350,000,000 price tag… so I see a $385,000,000 cost over-run… kooky, that’s more than twice as much as the lie they had us vote on….

  18. Have you noticed how many DOT projects have cost over runs and how many of the designs have to be changed?Of course the designs are changed after the project is at least half finished and additional costs have to be added on.Highway 16 and Sprague Avenue come to mind.If the proposed tunnel under Seattle is built and a Large Earthquake hits Seattle,I have a feeling that lot of Lake Union water will pour into the tunnel.Maybe the DOT will have free life preserver stations in the tunnel.

  19. Roncella says:

    With the many warnings I have read about in the Newpapers in the Puget Sound Area about being over due for a large 7 or better earthquake, why would anyone with common sense and intelligence want to put a tunnel in that area ?

    Japan was always cited as the most advanced in both earthquake preparation and nuclear Plant safety. They apparently were not as ready as they thought they were, as it is desparately trying to recover and safe guard its people after its last earthquake.

    Compare Seattles preparation for a major earthquake to major cities in Japan and most would agree Seattle falls far behind Japan cities.

    Imagine the condition of the downtown Seattle and the water front after a major Earthquake in Seattle its almost to terrible to envision.

  20. whatIdid, I just looked at the exact wording of the advisory vote. There are no cost estimates in it. In the cost estimates and discussions in the election material, some of the proponents used the figure you are talking about, but for the bridge structure itself. The total cost of 735 million includes all of the cost for the entire project, not just for the bridge itself. The discussion was also in 1998 dollars, and steel took a huge jump in price right before the bids went out (that darned private business sector again trying to make a profit).

    Cost overruns to me means additional costs after bids are received and accepted and contracts signed, not estimates from an advisory vote years before contracts.

    Do you remember this:

    Washington State will be responsible for funding certain necessary improvements between Jackson Avenue and a new interchange on the west side of the Narrows. These state funded improvements include retrofitting the approach spans on the existing Tacoma Narrows Bridge to enhance safety in a seismic event. In addition, state funding will be used to close Stone Way and 24th Street entries and exits and provide access at a new interchange in the vicinity of 32/36th Streets. State funding will also be used to construct an additional lane in each direction on the roadway approaches to and from the bridge structures between Jackson Avenue and the new 32/36th interchange.

    That is language from the advisory vote ballot.

  21. whatIdid says:

    Bids went out? We bought that steel from Korea didn’t we?

    Since you found the exact wording would you mind posting the link? I’m pretty certain the $350,ooo,ooo was listed on the ballot or in the voter’s pamphlet, but if you have something that shows otherwise I would be happy to concede.

  22. Viaduct?


    ::::compliments of The Marx Brothers:::::::

  23. The irresponsible, egocentric and totally blinded American driver will
    be the beneficiary of this made up project but of course the rich will
    be the end cash prize winner.

  24. Novelist3 says:

    “Japan was always cited as the most advanced in both earthquake preparation and nuclear Plant safety. They apparently were not as ready as they thought they were.”

    I must remind you, Roncella, that the major damage was not merely the earthquake, but the massive Tsunami that swept across the Japanese islands after the earthquake. You can make a structure as safe as possible and it’ll still never be able to withstand the force of one of those; there’s no amount of “ready” for it.

  25. menopaws says:

    Retrofitting the viaduct makes a lot more sense than the tunnel……..But, the politicians got bought off by the developers……….So, DOT couldn’t get one of the reputable contractors to bid on this stupid tunnel–they all backed out……..You notice they never talk much about the contractor–it’s a shell corporation that this company can walk away from—WITH NO LIABILITY, in case something goes wrong. Doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy? Paula Hammond should have been fired just over this contract.

  26. madmike272 says:

    But look on the bright side. The tunnel collapses, and all they have to do is simply put a rememberance plaque in front of it, then the surviving touchy-feelies can hold candle-light vigils. A win-win situation!

  27. alindasue says:

    We got a preview of what Seattle would look like after a major earthquake when San Francisco was hit by the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.

    San Francisco and Seattle (and Tacoma too to a certain extent) are very similar. Both are hilly cities with lots of double-decker freeways and waterfront areas that were build on infill. The worst damage in that 7 point earthquake was a section of double decker freeway that collapsed like a stack of pancakes, a section of double decker bridge that also collapsed (although not as bad as the freeway), and the old historic buildings in the Marina district (equivilent to Seattle’s waterfront) which was less stable because it was built on infill.

    The proposed viaduct-replacement tunnel is to be a double-decker freeway dug under Seattle’s waterfront. Did Seattle’s city planners learn nothing from the Loma Prieta earthquake?

  28. One way contractors game the system is to come in with a low bid to get the contract, then discover ‘unforeseen and unanticipated’ conditions not covered in the original bid.

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