Thousands celebrate new tunnel with race

VIDEO: Thousands celebrate new tunnel with race

Tens of thousands of people took part in Seattle history today, marking the opening of the new State Route 99 tunnel by running through it.

“I've lived in Seattle forever, and I’m really excited to be in the tunnel. I kind of just wanted to see it for the first time,” said runner Kim Maloney.

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More than 29,000 people signed up to be among the first to step into the long-awaited new State Route 99 tunnel before it finally opens for the Monday morning commute.

“It is going to be a major change. Like, I commute in everyday from West Seattle. This is a completely different world after all these years. It's kind of cool to be a part of history,” added runner John Michael.

The Tunnel to Viaduct 8K also made history as the largest race held in Seattle with the race split into 14 corrals.

Drone footage from Washington Department of Transportation also shows the massive crowds.

“It's a dream come true. It took a long time to get through difficulties. But we made it,” said Washington state Rep. Jake Fey, who represents the 27th District, covering parts of the South Sound.

Some even got sentimental as they said goodbye to the iconic Alaskan Way Viaduct before it’s torn down and took in views of the Seattle skyline and Puget Sound that are no longer accessible by car.

“There's something about it isn't there, you know?” said Allen Robinson. “I'm going to miss driving on the viaduct at sunset.”

After the race, KIRO 7 wanted to know what people thought of the new, 2-mile tunnel.

“It was very cool. It was very clean,” said runner Alison Frazier.

“Excited to preview it now so I know what to expect on Monday,” added Teresa Buckle. “It will be great.”

One young runner wasn’t so impressed.

“It was really just a tunnel,” said Oliver Briggs.

Just a tunnel  and the beginning of a new normal, with each step forward a step toward Seattle's future.