Authorities reopen Alaskan Way Viaduct

Authorities reopen Alaskan Way Viaduct

Authorities in the state of Washington have said that they have reopened the Alaskan Way Viaduct ahead of schedule.

The Washington State Department of Transportation announced on Sunday that tunnelling work has progressed well and they were able to reopen the viaductat about 7:30 p. m, which is five days ahead of schedule. The officials said that tunneling-machine Berthadug the tunnel, which will replace earthquake-damaged elevated roadway, in just days while the Viaduct was expected to be closed for two weeks.

WSDOT Acting Secretary Roger Millar said, "Removing traffic from the viaduct was critical to the success of this work, but we don't want the closure to last a moment longer than it needs to."

Crew started removing the barriers to viaduct entrances on Sunday evening and the traffic was allowed by early evening. The Viaduct was closed on 29 April and the traffic was forced to use surface streets and Interstate 5, which caused several delays to the commuters. The larger than expected traffic also increased car crashes in the area.

Structural engineers were called to check the stability of the ground beneath the viaduct and the tunnel before reopening of the roadway. Todd Trepanier, administrator for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program said that contractor handling the tunnel project, WSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) determined that the tunnelling work did not impact the viaduct's structure.