• More than 100,000 people expected at tunnel celebration this weekend

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Runners and walkers flooded into Road Runner Sports on Friday, picking up packets for a once-in-a-lifetime 8K on Saturday.

    "It's an exciting historic moment because this is something people have waited for and talked about for a long time," said Liv Hanlon, who plans to walk both the old viaduct and the new tunnel.

    Organizers say this is different than races where people fly in to Seattle.

    "I have to tell you, about 90-plus percent we've seen, it's all local folks. They know the viaduct, there's a connection there generationally," said Aaron Bargar, of
    Road Runner Sports.

    The morning race is expected to draw 25,000 people.

    In the afternoon, another 75,000 are signed up to walk the viaduct and tunnel.

    The state encourages everyone to arrive by transit.

    People will walk southbound in the tunnel, with frequent shuttle buses running north.

    The Washington State Department of Transportation promises to avoid a repeat of the shuttle bus shortage during the 2016 opening of the 520 bridge.

    The next phase of the Highway 99 reboot begins at 10 p.m. Friday, when the Battery Street Tunnel closes forever.

    On Saturday, crews will continue work on connections to the new tunnel, with the main traffic switchover work beginning Sunday during the Super Bowl.

    When the viaduct closed last month, some drivers tried to be the last to cross it.

    WSDOT has a message for people wanting to be first through the tunnel on Monday.

    "We'll have it open by 5 a.m. but I can't give you an exact time," said David Sowers, of WSDOT. "So folks could be sitting around for quite a long time waiting to be first in the tunnel."


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