Tunnel is well worth extra money, study says

A study sponsored by the Downtown Seattle Association just came out saying a tunnel to replace Seattle’s viaduct will cost about $3.6 billion and would stimulate $1-2 billion in development on the new land available after the dig. I’m not sure I believe the $3 billion number. Seems a bit low given the tear down costs of the viaduct are around $1B and replacing the seawall probably another $1B. But I do believe the extra development activity estimate. Another interesting tidbit, apparently it adds $10 million per month to the project the longer a decision takes.

The article covered objections by the No Tunnel Alliance with responses as follows:

  • the No Tunnel Alliance noted that the study used the low end of the state’s estimated cost difference between a tunnel and a viaduct
  • The group also questioned the study’s conclusions regarding increases in property values and tourism
  • a lack of tunnel exits downtown would increase congestion and harm businesses
  • “I happen to love the view of the viaduct,” said Art Skolnik of Renton. “We don’t have many views left.”
  • “If it were really broken like everybody’s been led to believe, we wouldn’t be using it,”
  • “I just wouldn’t live to see the end of it,” she said. “And we’d probably be infested with rats from all the digging along the waterfront.”

Infested with rats? The viaduct has a nice view? No alternative data points provided to whoever wrote the news article. I hope the No Tunnel Alliance can come up with better arguments why a tunnel is a bad option.

Tunnel is well worth extra money, study says: “Replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel instead of a new elevated highway is well worth the extra cost, according to a new study. A state Department of Transportation official says the project will soon stall without a decision.”

(Via PI: Local News.)

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2 Comments on “Tunnel is well worth extra money, study says”

  1. joe says:

    The association, which supports a tunnel, hired Pascall to review the effect of building one.
    I think that quote sums up the article pretty well. When it comes to commissioned studies, people tend to find what they’re looking for.

  2. Andrej Gregov says:

    Agree on sponsored studies. Anyone should hardly be surprised by the results. What stood out to me the most in the article was the lack of a well directed counter response for the media. I think the tear down/don’t replace option has some strong arguments. But unfortunately none made it into the article.


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