City Hall

State: Both Tunnel Bids are Under Budget

By Erica C. Barnett October 29, 2010

This morning, Gov. Chris Gregoire and state transportation department (WSDOT) officials announced that both the bids for the deep-bore tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct came in under the $1.1 billion target price. Mayor Mike McGinn is holding a media availability later today to discuss the project.

Meanwhile, the state has also released an updated Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS), the environmental review of the tunnel. We'll be poring over the document today, but from what we hear, the latest version doesn't address concerns of tunnel opponents----namely, that the document is tailored to favor the tunnel, that it refers repeatedly to moving cars, not moving people and goods, that it ignores the issue of access to downtown Seattle (the tunnel would have no downtown exits) and that it does not consider the impact of tolling on downtown Seattle streets.

As we noted yesterday, the state's own analysis of tolling (included in an appendix to the SDEIS but not integrated into the main document) shows that the tolls the state is contemplating would lead to an "undesirable" level of diversion onto city streets---between 46,000 and 52,000 vehicles a day.

Additionally, PubliCola hears that the contingency fund for overruns on the tunnel---reduced, thanks to incentives offered to the two bidders, to less than $200 million---has been reduced further to less than $100 million. We'll update with more details as they come in over the course of the day.
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