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1

Hundreds of people will die. It will happen on a very beautiful day.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 8, 2008 8:03 AM
2

If I ever miss Seattle all I have to do is think about shit like this.

Posted by Matt from Denver | April 8, 2008 8:07 AM
3

Yeah, Matt, because our infrastructure is in such wonderful shape.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 8, 2008 8:11 AM
4

So, this has been on the verge of collapse for 7 years?!?!

Is there a pool as to when it will go? Winner gets a blood stained chunk of the wreckage...

Posted by Mike in MO | April 8, 2008 8:13 AM
5

But Unpopular Mechanics says it's one of the 10 pieces of infrastructure we should never fix.

Posted by elenchos | April 8, 2008 8:15 AM
6

The death toll will be jacked up on Mr Poe's beautiful day, because of a fucking baseball game causing its customary traffic jam on the lower deck of the viaduct. Yet another cost that innocent people have to bear for this cudchewing paint-drying spectacle. Oklahoma City Mariners! Yee-ha!

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | April 8, 2008 8:17 AM
7

5280, Denver's infrastructure is a fucking panacea compared to Seattle's, and so is our political process. You haven't lived there, habe you?

Posted by Matt from Denver | April 8, 2008 8:21 AM
8

Oops, "have" not "habe" @ 7.

Posted by Matt from Denver | April 8, 2008 8:22 AM
9

Meanwhile, Mr. Poe will be giving a blow-job to an old guy under the bridge and will be killed instantly. And we will all mourn him greatly.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 8, 2008 8:23 AM
10

The top four are not life-threatening, so that sort of makes us number one. There was a decision though. It's just that the politicians and rich bastards they are owned by don't like it: no tunnel, no rebuild. That was pretty darned clear as far as decisions go.

Posted by kinaidos | April 8, 2008 8:23 AM
11

Uh, I take all my guys to their hotel rooms. Bridge play is reserved for warm pussy.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 8, 2008 8:25 AM
12

Zee @8, you can zee ze zound shift at verk, eben as you type!

Posted by Jacob Grimm | April 8, 2008 8:25 AM
13

No, Matt, I've been there but never lived there. Just keep telling yourself that we're so much better, though, and maybe you'll feel better when the elevated part of I-70 (by the Colliseum and the Purina plant) collapses, which we've been warned about for years.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 8, 2008 8:29 AM
14

The Viaduct continues to be a political issue because too many people are making money (and retain their status) by 'working on the Viaduct problem' to actually solve it.

Posted by me | April 8, 2008 8:32 AM
15

With luck it will be a couple of thousand who will be crushed to death. And that is what I call "thinning the herd" !

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | April 8, 2008 8:33 AM
16

If you find yourself getting into a cock wagging contest every morning before breakfast, you might have self-esteem issues.

Posted by elenchos | April 8, 2008 8:36 AM
17

Ah, 5280, I know I-70 sucks, but the direst predictions for it are still sunnier than the sunniest predictions for Alaskan Way.

Don't be so smarmy. You don't know as much as you think you do.

Posted by Matt from Denver | April 8, 2008 8:39 AM
18

hmmm. and if there's no cock to wag....?

Posted by misrule | April 8, 2008 8:41 AM
19

No smarminess intended; only pointing out that we've got our problems too. And yes, I am aware that the Viaduct is a big, bad problem just waiting to happen - I certainly don't mean to downplay the significance of that.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 8, 2008 8:47 AM
20

Politicians here can't seem to make a decision unless there's a 98% level of agreement on any issue. Everything else is "controversial" & must be studied to death.

And environmental & bike groups seem to be so anti-car & anti-people, they'll oppose anything that might even appear to help people who have to use cars instead of bikes. When it collapses & kills people, they;ll be happy as long as cars are also destroyed.

That's why the Sierra Club actually opposes any new public transit money -- they don't want to see any new parking lots that people would use at metro stops.

Posted by chicagoexpat | April 8, 2008 8:51 AM
21

Agreed. I'd bet that if I-70 got 1/10th the ink and hot air that Alaskan Way has, we'd have a new roadway by now. Denver sucks in a lot of ways compared to Seattle but we get a lot more done.

Posted by Matt from Denver | April 8, 2008 8:58 AM
22

So I guess 5280 wasn't Charlton Heston after all, how was your dinner with the axis of evil?

It will be ironic if the Viaduct collapses jammed with people heading to one of the two top ten most expensive stadiums in the country.

Posted by left coast | April 8, 2008 9:00 AM
23

Nope, not Charlton Heston, though I've met him. The dinner is next month, thought I had said that.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 8, 2008 9:15 AM
24

If you find yourself getting into a cock wagging contest every morning before breakfast, you might have a hot boyfriend. And good for you.

Posted by Mike in MO | April 8, 2008 9:17 AM
25

You know what kills me? The seawall. There is practically no controversy about how to fix the seawall, the money's there, and it's super-urgent. So why isn't it being replaced? And no, patching the sheet piles doesn't count.

Posted by Greg | April 8, 2008 9:27 AM
26

Didn't Pop Mech predict we would all be flying individual plane or copters like 20 years ago. And cars would be running on water.

Only three of the columns were sinking and it only took 7 years to put slurry under them which has stopped the sinking. A big enough quake to bring down the entire viaduct will kill far more people in buildings.

The 2001 earthquake was a chance to remodel the waterfront when the tunnel failed it was no longer as dangerous.

Posted by bob | April 8, 2008 9:48 AM
27

@26: Actually, had the Nisqually earthquake continued for another minute, large sections of the Viaduct probably would have collapsed as the liquefied soil pushed the seawall out into Elliott Bay.

Posted by Greg | April 8, 2008 9:54 AM
28

history of the removal of san francisco's double-decker waterfront highway.
http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/lessons-from-san-francisco/

Posted by sanfranExample | April 8, 2008 9:54 AM
29

@28 awesome. i just discovered that film yesterday. good inspiration for sea

Posted by afl | April 8, 2008 10:36 AM
30

@28
only in SF do you have suits playing motherfucking wiffle ball.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | April 8, 2008 11:37 AM
31

apparently, they canceled my subscription because they were getting too popular. now i can't find a copy anywhere.

Posted by infrequent | April 8, 2008 12:14 PM
32

@25 -- "Sheet piles" sounds like a painful rectal scenario.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | April 8, 2008 12:20 PM
33

Greg 27 - actually if the atomic bomb had been dropped on NYC it would have caused much more damage then if it been dropped on the Gobi Desert.

Yes, more damage would have been done if the earthquake would have lasted over twice as long as it did and had that happened more people would have been hurt and killed in Pioneer Square than on the Viaduct.

If the seawall is as bad as they said before the tunnel vote, then it should be fixed now.

Posted by McG | April 8, 2008 12:39 PM
34

Also in the video at 28 is discussion of Octavia Boulevard, the surface alternative to the Central Freeway. 93,000 daily cars, quite close to the viaduct numbers, used that freeway and today there's a pleasant multiway boulevard that moves traffic quickly while also expanding pedestrian access. There's no reason the same thing couldn't be done here.

But comparing to other cities doesn't seem to work, so I'll try something else: comparing Seattle with its own suburbs. The city of Bothell is on the verge of approving the conversion (PDF) of the intersection of highways 522 and 527 for greater pedestrian access, including a multiway boulevard like Octavia for the first five blocks of 527 (the Bothell-Everett Highway). The main intersection serves 44,000 vehicles per day.

If Bothell can make this work, surely Seattle can get its shit together, tear down the viaduct, and put in a multiway boulevard in its place.

Posted by Cascadian | April 8, 2008 12:42 PM
35

@20 - nuh uh.

If we continue trying to Seattle this, the Gov will just rebuild the Viaduct to modern engineering standards.

It will happen - no matter how much the nabobs try to talk it to death.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 8, 2008 12:45 PM
36

I have to drive the VDuct to work every day. And every day I plan my escape in case it falls. Stay in the outside lane, jump over the edge and swing down on one of those trees... of course i will die, but i won't be trapped in my car slowly bleeding to death or suffocating.... of course, i'm just an optimist....

Posted by M | April 8, 2008 1:10 PM
37

@30,
That's the spirit! Is it just sooo seattle to be like,"who cares, man"? Now what do you have to say? Alot i'm sure, because this blog is just blabber-time for Bellevue Ave. BAM!

Posted by sanfranExample@28 | April 8, 2008 2:02 PM
38

@33: Yes, the seawall is as bad as they said, and yes, it should be fixed now. Not only is it being eaten by gribbles, but the original design with the batter piles is woefully inadequate to support the liquid pressure from earthquake-loosened soils. And if it fails, goodbye waterfront and goodbye Viaduct.


And as for the liquefaction: sure, an earthquake big enough to bring down the Viaduct only has a 10% chance of happening in the next 50 years. Whew. Everything's fine! No problem at all! Never mind that pretty much any movement of the Seattle fault would produce the right conditions to topple the Viaduct.

But hey, I'm just some asshole on the internet. Let's hear what an expert has to say:

So what would happen to the viaduct if that 10-percent-in- 50-years earthquake hit?


It all depends, and it's hard to say.

It depends on how strong the quake is and where it is centered. The Nisqually Quake originated deep below the surface and 60 miles away -- and to the south, which means its shock waves rippled mostly along the length of the viaduct, causing less damage than if they had slammed into it broadside, Coffman said. Ground shaking lasted about 15 seconds, which seems within the viaduct's tolerance, he said.


With stronger vibrations, the most likely breakdown would come in the columns, he said. An exact Cypress freeway scenario is unlikely, he said, because that structure contained a specific flaw midway up the columns, but intense shaking could cause the Alaskan Way Viaduct to come apart and the decks to pancake.


To Kramer, soil liquefaction poses the greater danger. A strong quake would drive the soil downslope toward the bay, and the 70-year-old sea wall likely would burst under the pressure, he said. The bases of the viaduct columns could move up to 10 feet off center.


"It's a brittle structure," he said. "It's going to snap like a piece of chalk."

Posted by Greg | April 8, 2008 2:34 PM
39

Oh yeah, well we're #1 AND #10!! In your face Seattle!..Oh..wait...Ruh Roh!

Posted by scott in chi-town | April 8, 2008 2:37 PM
40

Only one bay was damaged enough to require fixing, that being at the curve near the Colman dock. The WSDOT propaganda about the Viaduct collapsing is BS. The cost to RETROFIT it is a tiny fraction of the costs to replace it and/or tear it down and rape the rest of downtown with an additional 110,000 trips through it. If it wasn't safe, we wouldn't be driving on it 7+years after the quake. WSDOT is promoting a "Big" solution to satisfy the labor groups and cement industry.
We have to remember that the problm caused by the quake is a quick fix and that's what the Governor should have done. There would be no disruption of traffic, no disturbance during construction and no increased congestion in our already congested downtown. If we want to get more people to use transit, let's not further clog up downtown making it more dangerous to walk, bike, etc. in the downtown.
Retrofitting will cost under $1 Billion allowing the surplus funds ($1.28 Billion) to go to the 520 solution and greatly reduce the need for tolls.
As for the folks who want to create a beautiful waterfront, keep up the good work of making it happen. But not with precious transportation dollars and expnded congestion. I'd rather see time spent on connecting the Elliott Bay public waterfront from Alki to Magnolia, creating a world class Bayscape instead of dumping all our marbles and money into a mile of central waterfront.

I could go on, but for now, can't we just fix the viaduct so we stop talking about it as a problem and get on with solving other needed issues such as, affordable housing.
If we keep opting for unnecessary expensive solutions and increasing the cost to live in the City, the Central Waterfront will only be enjoyed by neighboring fat-cats and tourists.
Art

Posted by Art Skolnik | April 9, 2008 8:23 AM
41

Only one bay was damaged enough to require fixing, that being at the curve near the Colman dock. The WSDOT propaganda about the Viaduct collapsing is BS. The cost to RETROFIT it is a tiny fraction of the costs to replace it and/or tear it down and rape the rest of downtown with an additional 110,000 trips through it. If it wasn't safe, we wouldn't be driving on it 7+years after the quake. WSDOT is promoting a "Big" solution to satisfy the labor groups and cement industry.
We have to remember that the problm caused by the quake is a quick fix and that's what the Governor should have done. There would be no disruption of traffic, no disturbance during construction and no increased congestion in our already congested downtown. If we want to get more people to use transit, let's not further clog up downtown making it more dangerous to walk, bike, etc. in the downtown.
Retrofitting will cost under $1 Billion allowing the surplus funds ($1.28 Billion) to go to the 520 solution and greatly reduce the need for tolls.
As for the folks who want to create a beautiful waterfront, keep up the good work of making it happen. But not with precious transportation dollars and expnded congestion. I'd rather see time spent on connecting the Elliott Bay public waterfront from Alki to Magnolia, creating a world class Bayscape instead of dumping all our marbles and money into a mile of central waterfront.

I could go on, but for now, can't we just fix the viaduct so we stop talking about it as a problem and get on with solving other needed issues such as, affordable housing.
If we keep opting for unnecessary expensive solutions and increasing the cost to live in the City, the Central Waterfront will only be enjoyed by neighboring fat-cats and tourists.
Art

Posted by Art Skolnik | April 9, 2008 8:23 AM
42

#40 (and 41)- glad I read through the full thread as I agree with many of your points.

I first visited Seattle as a teenager and thought the waterfront was ugly and full of cement. But as a resident, the viaduct gave me an excellent view when I drove from West Seattle to downtown. There are so many places to enjoy the beauty of this area, I would rather see wise spending for a retrofit. The cost of losing 520 would be enormous to this region.

Posted by CLC | April 9, 2008 1:01 PM

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