Department of Transportation – Tunnel Opening & Viaduct Closure
After the unfortunate 2001 Nisqually earthquake, the Alaskan Way Viaduct suffered significant structural damage, and the State of Washington started an ambitious new project to bore a structurally-secure tunnel under downtown Seattle to carry SR99 from SoDo to South Lake Union. The SR99 Tunnel (also called the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel) was officially opened for public inspection on February 2nd, 2019. For the opening ceremony, Seattle needed a way to celebrate this pivotal project with the same incredible energy, passion, and spirit that went into its design, construction, and engineering. The Workshop stepped in to meet this challenge. Not only was Step Forward a celebration of this world-class construction, but it also acted as a final farewell to Alaskan Way Viaduct — which had been an icon in the city since 1953. The goal was to engage and inform Seattle about the new changes, invite them to experience this incredible piece of design and construction, and propel them into the future of the city with reminders of change, history, and wonder. The entire grand opening spectacle was created by positioning key technologies with critical entertainment and educational ventures. With over 100,000 people in attendance, we had to ensure that there were multiple routes and activity groups positioned throughout the tunnel. Combining the experience of gaining something profound and beautiful with losing something dear can be a complex event to create. By leveraging local artists and musicians, plenty of fun and activities, and separating the experience into two key locations (i.e., the tunnel and the Viaduct), we were able to create a unique experience that was 100% Seattle and 100% fun and educational!

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