• Oct 30, 2009
Alaskan Way Viaduct earthquake simulation -- Click above to watch video

The Alaskan Way Viaduct (AWV) is an elevated roadway running along the Elliot Bay Waterway in Seattle. An earthquake in 2001 damaged the viaduct, and the structural degradation has only gotten worse over the years. To forestall the possibility of having the conduit collapse in another natural disaster, the city and Port of Seattle, King County, and the state government agreed earlier this year to dig a deep-bore tunnel to go under the waterway and eventually shut down the viaduct.

According to the Seattle Times, the tunnel is a contentious issue, with residents fervently pro and against. Two years ago, though, the state commissioned a video to show what would happen to the AWV if another serious earthquake hit. The six-minute CGI video that resulted could be a clip right out of the disaster movie 2012, and because of its sensationalism, it was never shown. Seattle resident Elizabeth Campbell doesn't want the tunnel and recently requested to have the video released. After saying that Campbell wouldn't get it for eight months, the city put the video on a local news show – and Campbell still hasn't received her copy.

Naturally, there's some political intrigue to accompany everything. The problem is that there's a mayoral race happening right now, with the current mayor siding for the tunnel and his opponent is against it. It has therefore been suggested that the video has been released in order to help that current mayor's campaign – you would not want to be anywhere near the AWV and phrases like "liquefied soil" if the video is anywhere close to reality. Whether it will affect votes remains to be seen. Either way, you can check out the video footage for yourself after the jump.

[Source: Seattle Times]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 47 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Note to editors/Autoblog moderators:

      umm...why is this on Autoblog?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why that look like one of the scene from 2012? Almost to an exact as well...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've lived in/near Seattle all my life. I've never heard anyone ever call it the "AWV".
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's always referred to as "Alaska Way Viaduct" or "The Viaduct"
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who cares if it is politically motivated? What matters is if it is accurate.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's pretty accurate. We've had sensors on the viaduct since the Nisqually quake and it's still moving. It took all of the involved parties this long to agree on a replacement plan. The time for debate is over. It's time to start building. Oh, and all of you folks gloating about living in the midwest? Google "New Madrid Fault 1811".
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yikes!I live in the apartment building featured in this video! (Before they start panning away)

      I'm pro tunnel, but I don't see how a tunnel--or any solution--could survive that earthquake. Liquified soil is a serious issue, given the composition of the soil underneath most of downtown Seattle. (Hint: it's man made and not solid rock)
      • 5 Years Ago
      The entire downtown Seattle was built on infill. Liquefaction is a reality, and the AWV is going to have a rude surprise for anyone caught on it in a major quake, politics or not.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not the entirety of downtown, mainly just the Pioneer Square area and several blocks inland, as well as a narrow strip of land north of there along the waterfront. The amount of infill is only one component used when creating an estimate for the amount of damage. I refer you to a document generated by one of my colleagues that highlights some of the probabilities: http://earthquake.usgs.ogv/regional/pacnw/hazmap/seattle/index.php
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fear propaganda anyone?


      sounds like H1N1.......................................
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is begging for a spoof video... someone has to be up to the challenge.


      http://everyroadtaken.wordpress.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      That is why I live in Iowa.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Texas!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chicago for me... :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        How're those tornadoes working for ya? :P

        That's why I live in Eastern WA. The only thing I have to deal with is the occasional 50 mph wind gust. Other than that... no real natural disasters to worry about.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Los Angeles! Wait... Crap.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I live in the Puget Sound area - and the thing needs to be replaced!
      WA state and the Seattle city council have been passing this thing around for far too many years. Personally I think the tunnel is a better option and from what I have read, seismically a better. Regardless of what they ultimately do (tunnel, elevated road way, surface road) fix the seawall and replace the AWV. This has gone on way too long!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Every time I've been on that structure in Seattle I feel uneasy. Plus it's a blight on the waterfront. Many cities have removed these just for that reason and been able to cope.

      I've been to Seattle many times to visit relatives and never had a car to get around downtown. The bus system works very well. It's too hilly of a city to rely on rail or subways.
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