For those not paying close attention to regional transportation issues throughout the Pacific Northwest, it might be of a surprise that the much-maligned Columbia River Crossing is not the only controversial transportation infrastructure redesign that would affect I-5. Indeed, just a couple hundred miles to the north our neighbors in Seattle face certain dilemmas as a replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct is considered, dilemmas that include similar charged rhetoric as the CRC debate has contained.
The Alaskan Way Viaduct is an aging elevated section of State Road 99 that cuts across Seattle from north to south, the only other road besides I-5 to traverse the city in this direction. The Viaduct was badly damaged in the 2001 earthquake, and in the decade since there have been various proposals for a replacement. The current proposed bored tunnel- and the available funding sources that will cover the tunnel's costs- are a hot-button political issue with the only guaranteed result is the squirming and uncomfortableness of elected public officials.
Granted the replacement of the Alskan Way Viaduct pales in comparison to replacing at he Interstate Bridge, a major artery along an international freeway connecting goods and services from Canada and Mexico that also happens to be a vertical lift bridge. But driving on I-5 through Seattle via the non-express lanes can attest, the commute becomes a major slog