Seattle voters passed a referendum Tuesday for a $2 billion tunnel project downtown, ending a decade of controversy. The Highway 99 tunnel is part of the $3.1 billion replacement of the double-decker Alaska Way Viaduct along the city’s waterfront. The viaduct is considered highly vulnerable to an earthquake.
Mayor Mike McGinn had opposed the tunnel, but around 60% of voters disagreed with him. Gov. Chris Gregoire supported the tunnel.
“After 10 years of debate, hundreds of public meetings and technical studies, and thousands of public comments, it is time to move forward without delay,” the governor said.
The Federal Highway Administration is expected to sign an environmental-impact statement in a few days, allowing the state Department of Transportation to move into final design and construction, according to the Seattle Times.