The State Route 99 project in Seattle, which includes the SR 99 tunnel, has been honored with one of the nation’s top engineering achievement awards for 2019: The 2019 Grand Conceptor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).
The annual award was presented Tuesday evening, May 7, to the Washington State Department of Transportation, along with its general engineering consultant WSP USA, at ACEC’s national conference in Washington, D.C.
“This record-breaking project overcame many challenges and helped advance the tunneling industry worldwide,” said Brian Nielsen, administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. “There are thousands of people who share the credit for this prestigious award.”
The 2-mile-long SR 99 tunnel, the largest diameter single-bored road tunnel in North America, opened in February 2019 and now carries a double-deck highway underneath downtown Seattle. It competed with 196 projects worldwide in vying for the ACEC’s top engineering award.
“The SR 99 tunnel set new standards for tunneling worldwide,” said Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar. “Not only does this tunnel move people through Seattle, but it cleared the way for Seattle to re-imagine its downtown waterfront.”
Work is now underway to demolish the seismically vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct, which carried SR 99 along Seattle’s waterfront before the new SR 99 tunnel opened. The demolition creates the space for the city’s plans to renovate the waterfront in Seattle.