SEATTLE – A key section of the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct has not sunk any farther than the nearly 5 inches of settling recorded since 2001’s Nisqually quake, officials said Thursday.
But the 54-year-old elevated highway still needs repairs to make it more stable, the state Department of Transportation said.
The most recent inspection of the viaduct was completed last weekend. Regular examinations have found that a one-block stretch has settled 43/4 inches since 2001.
There was no structural damage, but the viaduct continued to show signs of aging and deterioration, officials said after the checkup.
“We are pleased with the results of this inspection, but the situation is still urgent,” state bridge engineer Jugesh Kapur said.
The $5 million repair work will stabilize the viaduct’s footings by adding steel-and-concrete tubes that penetrate farther into the ground, hitting more stable soil.
The repairs are part of a package of viaduct work recently outlined by Gov. Chris Gregoire. The job is expected to begin in the fall.
State, county and city leaders are searching for ways to replace the viaduct, which runs along Seattle’s waterfront. Officials had been pushing for either a rebuild or a tunnel, but Seattle voters rejected both options in a special election earlier this month.