Alaskan Way Viaduct removal to begin in February

VIDEO: Plans for how Alaska Way Viaduct will be torn down

SEATTLE — In the buildings right beside the Alaskan Way Viaduct, passing traffic never goes unnoticed.

"You can see the windows shake on the storefront," said Kenneth Huntington, who recently opened an art gallery called Phantom Realms in the building where he also lives.

Soon, there will be a new impact, when the viaduct, just a few feet away, is demolished.

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"It's going to be loud and it's also going to clog up my storefront," Huntington said.

On Tuesday, the Washington State Department of Transportation said demolition will begin in early February, once the new State Route 99 tunnel opens to replace the viaduct.

"We're ready to come and take this viaduct down. We just can't wait," said Phil Wallace, of Kiewit Infrastructure West, the contractor hired to tear down the viaduct.

Wallace said crews will start with the Columbia Street on-ramp and the area north of Pike Street.

Two or three blocks will close at a time for about 30 days.

Crews will first remove the top deck, followed by the lower deck and the columns.

The viaduct will not be imploded, nor taken down as fast as the southern mile of the structure was in 2011.

"This is a much more methodical approach. We're mindful of the community we're working in, and moving it along in a safe and efficient manner," said Brian Nielsen, of WSDOT.

Demolition work on the central waterfront should be done by the tourist season in June, which is a relief for businesses.

"This is enormously good news," said Bob Donegan, of Ivar's.

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