SR 99 - Step Forward general event information and answers to common questions

Common questions

If you've read through our website and still have questions hopefully we have answers for you below. If not, feel free to contact us at viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov.

General event information

What are we celebrating?
A coordinated effort to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct and reconnect Seattle's waterfront has been underway for over a decade. This moment in time – the completion of the new SR 99 tunnel, the final days of the viaduct, and the advent of an improved and reconnected waterfront – is a milestone to celebrate. The grand opening celebration is an invitation from Washington State, King County, the City of Seattle, and the Port of Seattle to say goodbye to the viaduct and hello to the new tunnel.

When is the grand opening event?
The event is taking place on the weekend of Feb. 2-3, 2019. Please note that this is during the SR 99 closure.

Is the event free?
There will be free access to the tunnel, viaduct, and the north and south festival sites. Due to capacity restrictions inside the tunnel and on the viaduct, we strongly encourage you to get advanced, free timed tickets for the event.

The fun run and bike ride require paid registration.

Why is there a registration fee for the bike ride and fun run?
The registration fees from the bike ride and fun run, along with private sponsor and partner contributions, will cover the majority of the event's costs. For those who are unable to cover the cost of registration, visit the tunnel ride and fun run websites for more information on scholarship opportunities.

What is the event schedule?
Step Forward will include the following events:

Saturday, Feb. 2:

  • 7:30 a.m. - noon: Fun run
  • 11 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.: North and South Hub festivals
  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: Ribbon cutting ceremony
  • 12:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Public tunnel walk/access
  • 12:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Community art festival on the viaduct

Sunday

  • 8 a.m. – noon: Bike ride

For more details about specific activities, please visit our Events page.

Where will the ribbon cutting ceremony take place?
The official ribbon cutting event will be held at the south end of the tunnel at 11:30 a.m. The event will feature speakers and a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Access to the ribbon cutting is from the South Hub via South Royal Brougham Way. Access to the ribbon cutting area will close at 11:45 a.m.

Ticketing

Does my tunnel ticket work for both the full tunnel and turnaround options?
Yes, the free tunnel tickets will work for the full tunnel or the turnaround option. You will not be required to select either option in advance of the event, except that you will need to plan ahead for transportation if you park at the South Hub, but decide to not walk the full tunnel length since shuttles only run from north to south. Please visit our getting there page for more information.

What if I don't have a ticket?
We encourage everyone to get a free timed ticket for priority access to the tunnel and/or viaduct. Walk-ups will be allowed on a first-come, first-served basis, but since there is a maximum capacity on the viaduct and in the tunnel, we cannot guarantee walk-up access. Due to the popularity of the event, we expect that there will be a wait for walk up participants without a ticket, especially at the beginning of the day.

What if the ticket time I want is sold out?
The number of tickets available is based on the maximum capacity for the tunnel or the viaduct at any one time. If the time that you prefer is sold out, we encourage you to select the closest available time to experience the grand opening event without having to wait in the walk-up access line. Please note, the event planners have attempted to plan for average walking speed, however participants with tickets may also be required to wait in line.

How do I cancel or change my ticket?
If you would like to cancel your order, you will need to open your ticket confirmation email and click on "view and manage your order online" and then click the "cancel order" button.

If you would like to change your ticket order, you will need to cancel your original order first and then go back to event ticketing webpage to select your preferred ticket option.

If I got a viaduct-tunnel ticket (or vice versa), do I still get priority access if I show up to the other activity first?
Due to capacity constraints for both the tunnel and viaduct, it is important that attendees select the correct ticket and follow the suggested itinerary as provided by the event ticketing webpage. If you have a change of plans or would like to change your ticket order, you will need to cancel your original order first and then go back to event ticketing webpage to select your preferred ticket option.

Is there a time that I need to be at the second location?
You can experience the grand opening celebration at your own pace. We have allocated approximately 1.5 hours for each activity that you are ticketed for (e.g. combined Tunnel and Viaduct ticket assumes a 3 hour window). We expect this will provide you with enough time to experience the activity or activities that you have selected.

Do I need to have a printed copy of my ticket?
You will need to be prepared to show a copy of your ticket when you arrive at the line for the tunnel or viaduct, but we will not require a printed ticket. Eventbrite provides access to your ticket on a mobile device either through the app or via email. You can choose to show us your ticket on your mobile device or print out a paper ticket to bring to the event.

Fun run/Bike ride

How do I register for the fun run?
Visit the registration page on the Tunnel to Viaduct 8K website to register for the fun run.

Where does the fun run start and end?
The fun run will start at the tunnel's north end, located just to the east of the Seattle Center. The run producer will send additional information and line-up information to those who register for the event. For route details and registration, please visit the fun run website.

How do I register for the bike ride?
Visit the registration page on the Tunnel Bike Ride web page to register for the bike ride.

Where does the bike ride start and end?
The bike ride will start at the tunnel's north end, located just to the east of the Seattle Center. For route details and registration, see the bike ride registration page.

Navigation

How do I get to the event?
We provide a number of options for getting to the event on our Getting There webpage. For the best experience, we recommend that you take this survey to plan your day and confirm your options for where to access the event based on the activities that you would like to participate in.

Is the event ADA accessible?
We have attempted to make the grand opening celebration as ADA accessible as possible. However, we want to note the following considerations for ADA participants:

The full tunnel walk is approximately two miles long. The first two thirds are downhill and the last third is uphill, with a varying 4 to 6 percent grade. Please note: there is a turnaround option for the tunnel that has only a mild grade and is approximately 1/3 mile round trip.

The viaduct walk is approximately 1.5 miles long with a moderate grade if accessed through the Battery Street Tunnel and an especially significant grade when accessed at the Seneca Street ramp. On the viaduct, there is an approximate 4 percent grade between Lenora and Pike street, otherwise it is relatively flat.

The shuttle service at the South Hub is being offered by King County Metro and will be wheelchair accessible. Please note that this shuttle service only goes one direction, from south to north.

Will there be a shuttle service?
Yes, there will be King County Metro buses providing shuttle service from the South Hub to the North Hub, where you can access the tunnel and viaduct. The shuttle service will only go northbound so you will either need to return by walking through the tunnel or use other means of transportation. We encourage you to take our survey to help you plan your day.

The public shuttle pickup will be located on the corner of E Frontage Road S and South Royal Brougham Way near the Pyramid Brewery parking lot, west of the stadiums.

Where does the tunnel walk start?
The tunnel walk will start at the tunnel's north end, located just to the east of the Seattle Center, near the intersection of Harrison Street and Sixth Avenue North. The line-up for tunnel access will be on Sixth Avenue North between Harrison and Mercer streets so that pedestrians can enter the tunnel using the SR 99 southbound on-ramp.

Where does the viaduct walk start?
You can access the viaduct from two different locations: the Seneca Street ramp on First Avenue, or via the Battery Street Tunnel (access from the North Hub). We encourage you to take our planning survey to figure out which access point works best for you.

Will this be the last opportunity to walk the viaduct and through the Battery Street Tunnel?
Yes, this will be the last opportunity to walk on the viaduct and through the Battery Street Tunnel prior to viaduct removal, which will begin when the new tunnel opens to traffic. The viaduct and the Battery Street Tunnel were constructed in the 1950s and have reached the end of their useful life. After the tunnel opens to drivers, WSDOT will remove the viaduct and decommission the Battery Street Tunnel as part of a design-build contract.

What if I only want to see part of the tunnel?
For those who don't have time or are not interested in the full 2-mile walk through the tunnel, there is a turnaround option that offers you a chance to see the north end of the tunnel and peek into the egress corridor. This option is approximately 1/3 mile round trip and has less of an incline than the full tunnel walk. Any free tunnel ticket option can be used for this option.

Misc.

Will there be food and beverages available?
Yes, we will have food trucks stationed at the North Hub and South Hub festivals.

Can I bring a dog or pet to the event?
Unfortunately, we are unable to allow pets to participate in the grand opening event. Per RCW 49.60.040, we will allow trained dog guides or service animals, but other pets will not be allowed into the tunnel or onto the viaduct.

Are the tunnel and viaduct walks guided?
No, the tunnel and viaduct walks are not guided. There will be some programming inside the tunnel to tell you where you are and how much further you have to go. The City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and Office of the Waterfront are providing a community celebration and art festival on the viaduct. And there will be a variety of free STEM activities for adults and children at the festivals at both the North Hub and the South Hub.

How do I become a sponsor?
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please email viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov about how you would like to be a sponsor for the event. We will pass your information along to our sponsorship manager for consideration.