City In Viaduct News
posted by December 1 at 11:58 AMon
The Times reports the conclusions of a new state study, which finds that the viaduct can be retrofitted, but at a large aesthetic and financial cost. (The Times does not report how long a retrofit would last; previous studies have concluded the viaduct would have to be retrofitted again or replaced within, at most, 25 years.)
The engineers said extensive foundation retrofit would be required by adding additional pilings at each footing, 12 at some and 14 at others.
The engineers also said the foundations of the viaduct would require a retrofit, by adding stability and enlarging the footings.
Other recommendations include wrapping all the columns with metal fibers; strengthening the beam that supports the lower floor; and “jet grouting” the soil under the structure with concrete to strengthen it.
Meanwhile, as Gov. Christine Gregoire prepares to make her recommendation on how to replace the viaduct, proponents of the surface/transit option (tearing down the viaduct and replacing some of its capacity with improvements to transit and surface streets downtown) have written to implore her to at least consider this affordable, environmentally responsible option. In a letter, the governor’s dismissed their request, noting that the city council hired an expert review panel earlier this year to study the various viaduct options, and concluded that a tunnel was best. The letter implies that the panel studied all the viaduct options; in fact, however, it ignored both the surface/transit option and the retrofit. It’s a subtle but important point. If the review panel had truly considered all the available options, and the city had still concluded that the tunnel and rebuild were best, that would be one thing. But the options were artificially limited from the beginning. The review panel’s findings aren’t evidence of anything except the city and state’s own anti-surface/transit, anti-retrofit bias.