This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
The plan is set. In a few years, the tunnel will be under construction. Assuming we can dig really deep for funding, around 2018 the state will have a new car bypass past Seattle. After that, the viaduct will be taken down. Many dislike this decision. I agree. And Dan Bertolet at hugeasscity has put into words exactly why this is such a terrible idea.
So what do we do about it? The die is cast, the decision is made. But wait, that’s a long time from now. What if we can convince Seattle and our state that the Viaduct isn’t needed. San Francisco did this with the Embarcadero – they tore it down with the plan of building a tunnel, but then things worked out so well they decided not to build a tunnel.
My proposal: Let’s tear the Viaduct down now. If we can build enough support, couldn’t we convince the city or state to close the Viaduct? It is terribly unsafe, after all. Yes, there will be many complaints about slowing down traffic, but we can make the argument that it’s only a short-term decision. We’ll have a tunnel soon, don’t worry.
After the Viaduct is gone we’ll be able to see if it really affects the city, and to what extent. If it grinds things to a halt, then we’ll have a new way through soon enough. But if not… we could save $4 billion to be used on something more useful.