With people talking about the construction disruption of the rebuilt viaduct, it got me thinking about alternatives to the unpalatable rebuild WSDOT seems to favor. While raising the viaduct to limit the impact to the waterfront mays seem counterintuitive, it has some real advantages.
A single deck elevated structure could be built alongside and somewhat above the current structure. This could allow it to stand as-is while the new viaduct is poured. With a four lane roadway with shoulders usable as HOV lanes at peak hours, this structure could be reasonably proportioned to the rest of the waterfront. A single level design could replace the Seneca Street exit, but the Columbia Street onramp would have to go. This would be more of a bypass, similar to the tunnel plan.
Behold, by my immense Photoshop skill, the rebuild remix:
What’s that blue line, you ask? Something like this:
That’s the Melbourne Sound Tube, designed to reduce sound from a new tollway which runs very near several housing towers. The ribs reflect sound back to the road. Add some translucent solar panels, which would offset some of the CO2 the road generates, and some multicolor LED lighting, and you have quite a design statement along the waterfront. Sure, the columns would be a little bigger. It isn’t the statement about the futility of endless age of carbon some want. It keeps the views for motorists. But it is undoubtedly better than a butt ugly rebuild with outrigger columns that will keep the entire waterfront a war zone for years.