As Viaduct demolition inches closer, noise concerns ramp up

VIDEO: Demolition work on one ramp to Viaduct is done

SEATTLE — Demolition work on one ramp to the Viaduct -- is already done. WSDOT said Tuesday construction work is ahead of schedule with this stretch of clear weather.

But people are getting the first taste of just how noisy the teardown and construction will be.

And many of the buildings along the Viaduct are just feet away from the giant slabs of concrete that need to come down.

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For now, people who live nearby are experiencing newfound silence.

“It feels spooky,” said Kenneth Huntington, who has lived at the OK Hotel Apartments for about five years.

Snagging a rent deal, he also recently opened an art gallery called Phantom Realms in the building next door, featuring local artists.

Huntington said he lived – and now works – about 10 feet away from the Viaduct, and was used to his windows rattling from the constant pounding of traffic.

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​“It was a sonic attack on the ears,” Huntington said.

Soon that attack will return in full force when the 66-year-old double-decker highway comes down.

Over the weekend, demolition started of the on-ramp near the stadiums.

That work will move to the main body of the Viaduct come February.

“It’s close to some of these buildings, it's literally a foot away in some places. I am concerned,” Huntington said.

The Latino Community Fund, a nonprofit that also recently moved in to the neighborhood, said after seeing the ramp demolition work over the weekend, it put into even clearer perspective what they’ll have to endure soon.

“They’re blasting things down and you hear jackhammers and everything else,” said Oskar Zambrano,  director of the Latino Community Fund.

“Dust, particles, you have brake dust that's been sitting on the concrete for so long, how it's going to impact the air quality?” Zambrano said.

WSDOT has plans in place to mitigate the impact.

There will be a fence around the construction and temporary structures and heavy nets to contain debris. There will also be water misting to mitigate the dust.

People along the Viaduct are collectively bracing.

“I knew coming in it was going to be a rough ride. But I'm determined to ride it out,” Huntington said.

Demolition will start after the "hello Tunnel, goodbye Viaduct" party WSDOT is hosting on the first weekend of February.

More information from WSDOT on minimizing disruptions.