• Seattle City Council to vote on fate of Battery Street Tunnel

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    SEATTLE - The Seattle City Council will vote on the future of the Battery Street Tunnel after the Alaskan Way Viaduct is demolished.

    PHOTOS: Artists want to use Battery Street Tunnel creatively

    The city wants to fill it with demolition debris, but some community members have other plans that would transform the tunnel into something very different once cars aren't able to drive through the route that has been around for more than six decades.

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    Starting next year, the city is looking to block off the one-third-mile tunnel and fill it with material from the demolished Alaskan Way Viaduct, making way for the new SR 99.

    But a community group called Recharge the Battery has collected a myriad of creative ideas from the public, who have come up with such ideas as a public bath house, a park, a wine cave, mushroom farm, a drone racing track, an organic farm, a covered beach walk, driving range, legendary monsters thrill ride, skate park and a training space for firefighters to simulate tunnel rescues – among others.

    The Downtown Seattle Association has also been collecting ideas from people who live in the area.

    But who is going to pay for the transformation that would extend seven city blocks from Denny Way to the waterfront?

    The city says it would be too expensive to use the 1950s tunnel for another use.

     According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, the tunnel would need significant and costly structural and system upgrades in order to be safe for other uses. 

    In addition, WSDOT said because its final environmental document for the program included filling and sealing the tunnel, it has a legal obligation to implement that plan.
     

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