Drivers in SR 99 Tunnel get emergency evacuation alert

SEATTLE — Drivers in the SR 99 Tunnel got a scare Thursday morning when those who had their radios on got an emergency evacuation alert.

One Twitter user described the incident as "terrifying."

Twitter user @inkstand said emergency evacuation instructions came over his radio saying drivers should stop, turn off their engines and evacuate immediately. He said signs indicated lanes were closed and tunnel lights came on as well.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said the problem happened when a car stalled in the northbound tunnel shortly before 7 a.m. When tunnel signs were to be activated saying the left lane was closed, emergency alerts were mistakenly issued.

Some drivers in the tunnel at the time told KIRO Radio that no one followed the instructions.  They said drivers slowed down but did not stop.

The alert is one of several that are pre-recorded and ready to go out over tunnel PA systems or car radios in case of a real emergency.

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