2009-10-27

HWY 99 potential collapse

Seattle has an elevated roadway that runs along the downtown water front.  It was contructed with state of the art budgets decades ago.  That means it's loud, ugly, and dangerous.  It sustained serious damage in the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake and, while it's still open to traffic, it needs to be replaced.

Seattle's pathetic track record on civil engineering continues to rear it's head.  After the quake, everyone agreed something needed to me done. It's not just the Viaduct at stake, but also the seawall that prevents downtown from flooding.

So the people of Seattle and the state of Washington talked about it.

And talked about it.

And talked about it.

And reached a decision.

And talked about it some more.

Finally, it looks like the decisions are in place, but what to do about those decisions is once again popping up in the Mayor's race.

What it comes down to is you can't get real, quality infrastructure in place with the excessive democracy we have in this city.  Somebody needs to stop listening to the people and just build something.

I favor the expensive tunnel option of a few years ago, and even the new, smaller tunnel option that is the likely replacement.  It's not worth it to cheap out.  And by building now, in a recession, labor and material are cheaper.  Financing for the city  cheaper.  Now is exactly the time to spend on infrastructure.

But if that doens't happen, I'll be satisfied if we just take some action already.

Our Light Rail system is years behind schedule, not because of the bureaucrats can't run it effectively, but because we have to keep stopping and revisiting already made decisions.  Our Monorail project won in three elections in the space of 7 years, and was cancelled in a fourth election because I guess we weren't Really Really Really sure.

What the coolest thing to come out of this civic paralysis?  The DOT makes awesome disaster simulations. They did this for the SR520 floating bridge (pretty much the same rant).Here is their demonstration of what will happen to the Viaduct in the next earthquake.



1 comment:

Cathy M said...

I have one question. Why do those cars stay stopped, why don't they get the heck out of there, forget about the traffic light.