WSDOT’s Step Forward SR 99 tunnel celebration and art festival on Seattle’s Alaskan Way viaduct celebrates the completion of the new SR 99 tunnel that Big Bertha dug from July 2013 until she was dismantled in August 2017. (For a boring machine, she was anything but.)
WSDOT will soon reconnect Aurora Avenue North intersections to the new SR 99 tunnel. Once Aurora is reconnected, the new SR 99 tunnel can open to traffic.
Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement along Seattle’s waterfront will begin in early 2019 and include viaduct demolition and decommissioning of the Battery Street Tunnel. Once the viaduct is demolished, a new Alaskan Way Street will be constructed along the waterfront. Besides a new boulevard, this project includes improvements along Seattle’s waterfront from Pioneer Square to Belltown providing new parks, paths, and access to and from downtown, and a rebuilt Elliott Bay Seawall.
So, the celebration also marks the final days of the viaduct and the Battery Street tunnel AND shows off a future waterfront reconnected to the Emerald City urban center.
But first things first. WSDOT wants everyone to come down and party on the pavement!
Seattle 99 tunnel Step Forward celebration
On Saturday, February 2, 2019, WSDOT’s is hosting a free, family-friendly event that includes a walk in the new SR 99 tunnel, STEM activities at two event hubs, and an art festival on the viaduct featuring over 100 local artists. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Northwest celebration without live music and food trucks. And of course, there are plenty of nearby restaurants throughout the celebration, from Seattle Center to Pioneer Square. It’s sure to be an action packed day of fun.
The SR 99 tunnel access and the viaduct festival are free but requires a ticket. The free, timed tickets spread out arrival times and locations, giving everyone a better opportunity to see the project and enjoy various activities.
In addition to the free Saturday celebrations, you can register for a Saturday run/walk and a Sunday bike ride, both going through the tunnel. and onto the viaduct.
A schedule of the events is detailed below, including links to get more information or tickets.
Can’t make it? Or want a sneak peak of the day? Watch this YouTube video:
Step Forward schedule
Saturday, February 2, 2019
- 7:30 AM – 11:00 AM: 8K Tunnel to Viaduct run/walk (advance registration $35-$50)
- 11:00 AM – 6:30 PM: Hubs at new SR 99 tunnel north and south portals are open (no ticket required, no access to tunnel or viaduct)
- 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM: Official ribbon cutting ceremony for SR 99 tunnel (no ticket required, no access to tunnel or viaduct)
- 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM: Access to new SR 99 tunnel (free ticketed event)
- 12:30 PM – 6:00 PM: Access to Alaskan Way Viaduct art festival (free ticketed event)
Saturday, February 2, 2019
- 8:00 AM – 11:45 AM: 12.5 mile Tunnel/Viaduct bike ride (advance registration $18-$40)
Step Forward tickets
To reserve a free Step Forward ticket, first you choose from among the options:
- You can choose to see only the tunnel, only the viaduct, or both the tunnel and the viaduct.
- Tunnel access includes a partial walk (½-mile) or complete walk through the 2-mile tunnel.
- Viaduct access includes an art festival and other activities on Alaskan Way.
- If you choose EITHER the tunnel or the viaduct only, time slots are from 12:30 PM until 6:00 PM.
- If you choose BOTH the tunnel and the viaduct, time slots are from 12:30 PM until 4:30 PM. Also, you can choose to see the tunnel first and then go to the viaduct festival, or you can go to the viaduct festival before you walk the tunnel.
- Which option you choose also determines where you will start and end the festivities. There are several access locations, so you may want to plan your transportation to the event before deciding your options.
Alternatively, you can participate without a ticket in STEM activities and enjoy food trucks at either the tunnel north hub or south hub but will have no access to the tunnel or viaduct. The north and south tunnel hubs are open Saturday, 11:00 AM – 6:30 PM.
More info or tickets: https://99stepforward.com/tickets.htm
Step Forward transportation
This event will be taking place during the 3-week SR 99 closure, which means that both the viaduct and new SR 99 tunnel will be closed to vehicle traffic. So plan ahead for both your transportation options and your route to and from the event. For updated information visit, the WSDOT 99 Closure website.
While there are many different places through downtown Seattle to enter and exit this event, tens of thousands of people are expected. As with most large events, you are encouraged to use alternative modes of transportation.)
For more transportation information, visit https://99stepforward.com/getting-there.htm
Seattle 99 tunnel 8k run and 20k bike ride
In addition to the free Saturday celebrations, you can register for a run/walk or bike ride through the tunnel:
The Saturday 8K tunnel run/walk requires advance registration of $35-$50. Be one of the first people to ever step foot in the new tunnel and get one last opportunity to run on Seattle’s iconic viaduct, with it’s breathtaking views of the Seattle skyline and Puget Sound. Register at https://tunneltoviaductrun.com/
The Sunday 12 mile bike ride requires advance registration of $18-$40. Ride inside the SR 99 tunnel before it opens to cars, then be one of the last to ride the Alaskan Way Viaduct before it’s torn down. Registered riders will receive a free commemorative souvenir and t-shirts will be available for purchase. No day of registration. Limited to 10,000 riders. More info or to register: https://www.cascade.org/rides/tunnel-ride