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The Seattle engineering department took the original photo, standing right on the edge of the railing in 1975.
The Seattle skyline has changed tremendously, in both height and depth. It's shocking how the Smith Tower still was such a prominent structure, while now it is a footnote, trapped between taller buildings and those uphill. This view's days are numbered, but hopefully the replacement will be walkable and have view corridors.
A trusted assistant took the photo, I wasn't leaning out the window while driving.
Check the comments for the "then" photo.
Seattle’s cosmetic surgery continues near the waterfront. This portion of Highway 99 (SR99), which was once part of the bilevel Alaskan Way Viaduct, continues to be redesigned and rerouted as construction demolishes the ground underneath for the new tunnel that will replace the viaduct in a few years. As a result, every couple of months since 2011, either slight or significant alterations are made to change the course of the highway itself.
Typically not your most attractive scene, the onset of what appeared to be a massive thunderstorm (that did not happen) coupled with the last hues of sunset made the scene look beautiful, yet chaotic, futuristic, and even apocalyptic in a manner best portrayed in science-fiction novels and movies.
For comparison, here is what this scene looked like back in April 2011, before any construction took place.
I don't know what it is, but it was eye-catching. Seen on SR 99 in Salida, California (a few miles northwest of Modesto). The white lettering on the window says "King_Jamon."
My car was motionless when I took this picture. An accident had caused a traffic back-up and for 90 minutes traffic did the "stop-and-crawl" at less than a walking pace. As I passed the scene of the accident I saw a yellow tarp covering something on the pavement.
This was on the second day of a four-day drive from Arizona to Washington.
A surveyor sets up his gear near the south end of the SR 99 tunnel on Friday, Dec. 6. Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine completed her first 1000 feet of tunneling a day earlier. Learn more about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at www.alaskanwayviaduct.org or follow Bertha on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
Some of the metal decking of the northbound SR 99 Duwamish River Bridge, also known as the First Avenue South bridge, only has small spots that have been repaired. Replacing some of the deck sections in summer 2020 will help preserve the bridge.
Many terminals are replaced during overnight lane reductions or ramp closures. When determining which terminals need to be replaced, our engineers looked at a variety of factors including the crash history on a given stretch of highway, traffic speeds, grade and whether there are any immovable objects (overpasses, large sign posts) in the area.
Alaskan Way Viaduct carried SR99 from 1949 to 2019. Now replaced by the SR 99 tunnel. The waterfront is much quieter now without the roar of the freeway.
Metal plates that patch the northbound SR 99 Duwamish River Bridge, also known as the First Avenue South bridge, create a clanking sound ever time a vehicle goes over them. In summer 2020 a project will replace 14 of the metal deck sections. This helps preserve the bridge and provide a smoother traveling experience for those who cross the bridge.
Patches like this one help keep the northbound SR 99 Duwamish River Bridge, also known as the First Avenue South bridge, open for traffic, but sometimes even the patches need repair. In this case the right edge of one has come loose. Crews made an emergency repair to fix that. By replacing 14 sections of the bridge decking during summer 2020, we can avoid that sort of repair and preserve the bridge.
Some parts of the northbound SR 99 Duwamish River Bridge, also known as the First Avenue South bridge, have large areas that have been repaired, but need a more permanent fix. In Summer 2020 we will replace 14 of the deck sections to help preserve the bridge and make for a smoother ride for those who travel the bridge.
Still wrapped in its packaging, the SR 99 tunneling machine’s soil conveyor screw waits to be lowered into the pit where tunneling will start this summer to the west of Seattle’s stadiums. The conveyor screw will move soil from the front of the machine to the conveyor belt that will remove it from the tunnel. Learn more about Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, at her webpage or follow her on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
In some places on the northbound SR 99 Duwamish River Bridge, also known as the First Avenue South bridge, medium-sized holes have appeared and been patched. Replacing 14 of the the deck sections during summer 2020 will help keep the bridge in good working order for the people who travel across it.
After months of anticipation, the SR 99 tunnel boring machine nears completion. With the cutterhead installed, crews prepare for final rounds of testing before the machine is disassembled and shipped to Seattle. In late December 2012, representatives from WSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners will be on hand in Japan to officially accept the machine from its manufacturers, Hitachi Zosen. Learn more about Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, at her webpage or follow her on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
Rebuilding the West Fork Hylebos Creek near Federal Way, WA requires moving a lot of dirt.
Contractor crews removed a lot of non-native vegetation as they replaced the old culvert that carried the stream under SR 99 and then realigned the creek to create better fish habitat.
Creating a better environment required tons of fresh soil. Eventually bark will be placed to help keep weeds down and then native trees and shrubs will be planted in November 2015.
Bertha, the world’s largest tunneling machine, arrives in Seattle’s Elliott Bay on April 2, 2013 following a 5,000 mile journey from Osaka, Japan. Crews will unload her 41 pieces – the largest weighing about 900 tons – and move them to the 80-foot-deep pit to the west of Seattle’s stadiums, where Bertha will begin tunneling in summer 2013. Learn more about Bertha at her webpage or follow her on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
Keeping water out of the concrete helps preserve the SR 99 Aurora bridge. If water gets into the deck, and can erode or go through freeze/thaw cycles that can affect the deck. Placing waterproofing before paving reduces the chances of that happening.
On the right is a worn cutting tool replaced on the SR 99 Bertha tunneling machine during its current routine maintenance stop, and on the left is a brand new cutting tool. Each weighs about 75 pounds. It's routine to change out the tools during the course of a long tunnel drive.
Former USAAF / USAF B-17G 44-85738
Memorial at AMVETS Post 56
It's often days, weeks, or even more than a year before I manage to post photos I've taken, but tonight I decided to just jump straight into something I took, just about 1 hour ago. This evening I decided to go back to the Aurora Bridge in Seattle, not far from my home. My intent was actually to try some large format night photography (which I attempted, but won't know the results of for quite some time).
After my large format shooting I positioned myself directly beneath the bridge as best I could and shot at a wide angle to capture as much of the span as I could. Before cropping this image I actually captured the other side of the canal this bridge spans and some of the reflection in the water. But for vertical compositions I tend to prefer a 5x4 aspect ratio, and cropped this image accordingly. Given the already abstract nature of the image, I decided I actually preferred it rotated 180 degrees. As a result, the bridge overhead appears at the bottom of the frame, and the expanse across the canal reaches towards the top of the frame.
I'm sure I'll get back to posting Rainier shots again shortly.
Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20mm@10mm | f/11 | 59.4s | ISO200 | Tripod
Aurora Bridge crossing lake Union.
Former USAAF / USAF B-17G 44-85738
Memorial at AMVETS Post 56
Wilfreda Beehive G99 KUB is seen on Beckett Road in Doncaster. It is a Mercedes 811D with Optare StarRider coachwork, new in 1989 as London Buses SR99.
The SR 99 tunnel in Seattle takes shape in October 2013. Two workers walk through the first rings of the tunnel toward Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine. Later in the tunnel drive, crews will use special trucks to make the increasingly long trip to the machine. Learn more about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at www.alaskanwayviaduct.org or follow Bertha on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
Demolition of the Alaska Way Viaduct along Seattle's waterfront is uncovering new views and vantage points of famous landmarks.
Learn more about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at www.alaskanwayviaduct.org or follow us on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
The north end of the new SR99 tunnel emerges. The sign actually says, "Accident in right lane in tunnel", which is normal in Seattle
WSDOT owns roughly 7,300 bridges on state, city and county road systems. Most are inspected every two years to make sure they are in good working order. Our bridge office has more than 40 engineers and technicians trained to perform these inspections whether on the ground, in the water or in the air (as is the case with the SR 99 Aurora bridge).
Seen from above, the SR 99 tunneling machine’s colorful cutterhead waits on specialized flatbed trucks to be moved off Port of Seattle facilities onto the tunnel launch pit site in April 2013. Learn more about Bertha at her webpage or follow her on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99. Photo courtesy of Don Wilson, Port of Seattle.
Just the tail end of Bertha the SR 99 tunneling machine is visible from her launch pit in October 2013. Hanging next to the conveyor belt at the top of the tunnel is a bright yellow ventilation duct. This brings fresh air into the tunnel and tunneling machine for workers. Learn more about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at www.alaskanwayviaduct.org or follow Bertha on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
Suspended from a towering gantry crane, the SR 99 tunneling machine’s 57.5-foot-diameter cutterhead hangs for its last hours above ground before being lowered into the launch pit. The machine, known as Bertha, arrived in Seattle in April 2013 and will begin digging the new SR 99 tunnel in summer 2013. Learn more about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at www.alaskanwayviaduct.org or follow Bertha on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
The waters of the West Fork Hylebos Creek near Federal Way, WA is returned to a newly rebuilt streambed to flow through the new culvert under SR 99.
Look closely to the left of new culvert and the opening of the old culvert is still visible. That 6-foot by 6-foot culvert was frequently blocked by debris and prevented fish passage. The new culvert will provide fish with access to several more miles of stream.
Contractor crews have begun adding big tree stumps and woody debris to the edge of the stream to help slow the water and give spawning fish a place to rest. This is the first step in re-landscaping the area.
A look at the floor of the pit where Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, will begin her journey beneath Seattle in summer 2013. Affectionately called the “mud mat” by tunnel crews, this bottom layer of the pit will eventually be covered with another layer of concrete five feet in depth. Track Bertha's journey on Twitter by following @BerthaDigsSR99. Learn more about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at www.alaskanwayviaduct.org.
As Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, passes the 800-foot mark in November 2013, the view of her launch pit becomes a distant point of light. Hanging from the top of the tunnel liner are two important components of the tunneling system. The bright yellow tube provides air ventilation for workers in the machine, while the black belt on red rollers is carrying soil out of the machine and onto barges waiting at Terminal 46. Along the wall are various utilities needed to power and operate Bertha. Learn more about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at www.alaskanwayviaduct.org or follow Bertha on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
Memorial at AMVETS Post 56
Crew members adjust the SR 99 tunneling machine’s segment feeder, which moves into place the curved concrete segments that form the tunnel walls. Also visible are the wheels that roll the machine’s trailing gear along the launch pit and tunnel lining, as well as a complex set of wires, cables, and walkways inside the machine. Learn more about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at www.alaskanwayviaduct.org or follow the machine – nicknamed Bertha – on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
Trailing behind the main body of the SR 99 tunnel boring machine is over 300 feet of supporting gear. Everything from supplies, a control center, and even a kitchen will be housed here to support the machine and the 25 or so crew members who will be working inside. Learn more about Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, at her webpage or follow her on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
With views of the Duwamish waterway in the background, the new South Atlantic Street overpass moves closer to completion. In summer 2013, crews started pouring concrete to form the bridge decks of the overpass, which will allow freight and other traffic to bypass a busy railroad track that crosses South Atlantic Street near the entrance to the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 46. The overpass is set to open at the end of 2013. Learn more about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at www.alaskanwayviaduct.org or follow Bertha on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
Bright paint distinguishes the different components of the SR 99 tunnel boring machine’s cutterhead, and each one serves an important function. The large yellow pieces are fixed cutters that score a groove in the soil as the machine moves forward. As the machine rotates the black disc cutters grind boulders and rocks in the soil. Both of these types of cutters are replaceable and are accessed from within the cutterhead’s arms – when one wears out a new one is put in its place. Learn more about Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, at her webpage or follow her on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
Drivers need to prepare for the far right southbound lane of SR 99 on the Aurora bridge to remain closed for up to 10 days during this repair process. The damage was discovered during an in-depth inspection on Sunday, Oct. 27.
Crews assemble Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, in the recently completed pit where she’ll start digging a two-mile tunnel beneath downtown Seattle in summer 2013. The 80-foot-deep pit, which took about one year to build, was completed in May 2013 to the west of Seattle’s stadiums. Tunneling will start after Bertha’s 41 pieces have been reassembled and tested at the bottom of the pit. Learn more about Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, at her webpage or follow her on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.
A drilling rig shakes off a load of soil during installation of one of the 75 piles that will form the underground walls of the pit that Seattle Tunnel Partners is building to access and repair Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine. Learn more about the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program at www.alaskanwayviaduct.org or follow Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99</a
Looking south at the site of the State Route 99 tunnel's north portal, which will be located within the triangle formed by Broad Street, Denny Way and Aurora Avenue. In April 2012, crews move utilities out of the way so work on the tunnel boring machine's receiving pit can begin later in 2012.
Visit www.alaskanwayviaduct.org for more information.