Blog Connelly: “What’s Needed Is A Third Option For The Viaduct”

OK, another hot flash from your (currently) ”All Viaduct All The Time” news channel. Venerable Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly writes for tomorrow’s edition (online tonight), “What’s Needed Is A Third Option For The Viaduct.”

The view here is we are not yet ready to swallow, and could gag on either viaduct option. What’s needed is tough, honest analysis of a third option, the combination of a deep-bored tunnel and surface transit. Speed is one factor: Could a tunnel get dug and be open for traffic before demolition of the existing Alaskan Way Viaduct? The city has to avoid, at all costs, the kind of prolonged mess that disrupted and degraded Third Avenue when the bus tunnel was built. The Transportation Department’s planners seem to have taken a deep dislike to the deep-bored tunnel option. We’ve heard sky-high estimates on the cost of going underground.
By contrast, experts consulted by The Cascadia Center of the Discovery Institute have filled my e-mail box with analyses that an inland tunnel option would cost $1.7 billion at most. Don’t know who’s right. We need a analysis by a neutral team of experts.
Our decision-makers should consult Washington’s congressional delegation on whether a tunnel replacement of an earthquake-vulnerable viaduct fits President-elect Barack Obama’s definition of infrastructure repair. We could have a ready-to-go candidate for federal dollars. All this requires, in Royer-speak, a little more chewing. But, it a) spares us political gridlock in the Legislature; b)helps us steer clear of clawing in the courtrooms; c) potentially gives us a fast through route for freight and auto traffic; and d) ensures us a waterfront that’s not an Aurora Avenue-by-the-sea.

Read the whole thing.
Viaduct A Key Thru Traffic Route: Tunnel Best Replacement,” Cascadia Prospectus, Dec. 16, 2008;
Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement: Keep Tunnel Option Alive,” Cascadia Prospectus, Dec. 15, 2008;
Myth Making In Seattle: Official Estimates Exaggerate Costs Of Tunnel,” Cascadia Prospectus, Dec. 10, 2008;
Don’t Fumble Replacement Of Alaskan Way Viaduct,” Cascadia Prospectus, Dec. 8, 2008;
Cascadia-Arup Report: Deep Bore Tunnels @ $200M-$700M Per Mile,” Cascadia Prospectus, Nov. 21, 2008.