With Gregoire's barely dried signature on Senate Bill 5768, setting up the funding system for replacing the viaduct with a tunnel, the state Department of Transportation just sent out a press release announcing that starting tomorrow, two buildings are coming down. A 40,000 square foot warehouse and a 10,000 square foot office building located on state property near Qwest Field are being demolished to start off the project. It probably won't be quite as exciting as the Kingdome implosion, WSDOT expects it to last through June. Not to worry West Seattleites, no road closures. That'll come later.
It turns out the buildings were coming down anyway. In the spring of 2007, the Governor, Ron Sims and Greg Nickels agreed to a plan to replace the flat part of the viaduct south of downtown. The space cleared by the buildings, which were used as storage for freight until the state got the land, will be a staging area for the construction to keep trucks and materials out of the way.
Replacing the southern end with a two lane road is part of $600 million worth of projects that are included in the $4.84 billion total price tag, even though they were already approved. The bill for that is being footed by the state. Major construction on the tunnel is scheduled to begin at the end of 2011. Including the $600 million they've already spent, the state is spending $2.82 billion on the project. The city and county are on the hook for $930 million and $190 million respectively over the course of the entire thing.