At 7:30 p.m. last Friday evening, Oct. 21, one of Seattle's two north-south highways closed for what was to be a nine-day demolition and construction project. It was an early step in a multi-year project to replace the aging, earthquake-vulnerable elevated highway with a deep-bore tunnel.
Traffic congestion along the skinny isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington is close to horrible at best of times. Its closure, necessary for the building of a temporary roadway, created huge traffic problems for motorists in the area.
In the weeks leading up to the moment the barriers came down to close the Viaduct for good, locals began referring to the project as "Viadoom," in reference to this summer's closure of I-405 in Los Angeles, dubbed Carmageddon.
Demolition crews got their work finished two days ahead of schedule, lessening the misery slightly. The temporary road isn't a full replacement for the Viaduct, so traffic congestion through the area will be worse than usual for the foreseeable future while the tunnel is built.
Washington State Transportation Department spokesman Travis Phelps says operational lanes opened around 12:45 p.m. Saturday.