SEATTLE – An independent expert review panel, requested by the state Legislature, found that the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement program is on schedule and budget and can be successfully completed. The panel gave the program a clean bill of health, while noting that funding and project agreements need to be solidified.
“The panel’s independent review is important confirmation that the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement is on the right track,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire.
“We are confident that this project can be successfully delivered based on its current course,” said Dr. Patricia Galloway, P.E., chair of the expert panel. “The project management team is very impressive. That, coupled with WSDOT’s strong project implementation practices, will get this project built on time and within budget.”
The panel recommended that WSDOT move to secure all funding sources, including tolling and Port of Seattle contributions. It also said WSDOT and the city of Seattle should complete a binding agreement regarding the new Alaskan Way surface street, which will be funded by the state.
WSDOT is already working to address the panel’s findings. The agency submitted a bill to the Legislature authorizing tolling for the State Route 99 tunnel. Bonding authorization will be submitted next year. It is also preparing new toll revenue projections and identifying substitute funding if projections fall short.
WSDOT is also working with the port to create a binding agreement for its financial contribution to the program, as follow-up to a 2010 memorandum of agreement. An Alaskan Way street agreement with the city is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“I am confident we have the right team and tools in place to deliver this critical safety project and address the issues raised by the expert panel,” said state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “Our highest priority is strong project management to ensure high-quality transportation facilities for our taxpayers.”
The 2011 Legislature directed WSDOT to convene an expert review panel to review the program’s finances and ensure its schedule, risk management and cost estimating are reasonable. Gov. Gregoire, the House and Senate transportation committee chairs and Hammond selected the three panel members – Dr. Patricia Galloway, P.E.; Bob Goodfellow, P.E.; and John Rose.
For more information about the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement program, visit www.alaskanwayviaduct.org.