Citing the positive impact that such an ambitious project would have on the construction industry and broader economy AGC of Washington expressed its support for the tunnel option to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct as announced by Gov. Chris Gregoire. Gov. Gregoire Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels King County Executive Ron Sims and Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani announced their agreement on the tunnel option on Jan. 13.
The construction industry acknowledges the leadership of Gov. Gregoire in bringing this long-discussed issue to a conclusion said AGC Executive Vice President David DHondt. The viaduct simply must be replaced for all the reasons the community is fully aware of. By declaring and backing a visionary option – with identified funding sources for the $4.24 billion cost – Gov. Gregoire and the other leaders have created a plan that can move forward.
Although construction on the tunnel will not begin until 2011 having such a large project in the works is a positive development for the states construction industry which has lost 15400 workers since its peak employment month of June 2007 according to DHondt.
The tunnel project combined with the Washington Jobs Now initiative announced by the Governor will create jobs in construction that have a positive multiplier effect on the economy at large. According to a recent University of Washington study for each $1 invested in new construction the states economy generates an additional $1.97 in economic activity throughout the state.
Another benefit of the tunnel is that it takes advantage of new boring techniques. By tunneling the massive project will involve far less disruption of commerce and transportation than other options. In addition the plan to construct the tunnel some distance from the viaduct will mean the costs of relocating utilities will be avoided.
The tunnel plan represents careful attention to such issues as preserving access to and from Ballard and Magnolia neighborhoods as well as the movement of freight to and from the port said DHondt. And by allowing the city to be finally connected to its waterfront Gov. Gregoire will provide a great legacy for generations to come.