Poll: Seattleites have no clear answer on viaduct replacementMarch 28, 2011 @ 5:08 pm (Updated: 6:05 pm - 3/28/11 )
A new poll shows voters still have no idea what should be done about Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct, but one thing is for sure: they're getting pretty tired of the debate.
"There are more voters in this poll who said 'let's honor the agreement' (40 percent) than said 'I'd vote for the tunnel if given the opportunity,' (35 percent)" pollster Stuart Elway told KIRO Radio.
The state and city have already agreed to replace the elevated roadway with a deep bore tunnel and demolition is already underway. Mayor Mike McGinn vetoed the plan, but the Seattle City Council overrode the veto. Petitioners have since stationed themselves across the city.
According to Elway, many Seattle voters agree with McGinn and think the public should put the project to a vote.
But, Elway said, that may be more trouble than it's worth.
"There's no indication here that the voters would really be able to decide what to do," he said.
Voters interviewed last week said they are divided on how to replace the structure: new or repaired viaduct (38 percent), tunnel (35 percent), or "new and improved surface streets" (21 percent).
Most of those who wanted to vote on the replacement were opposed to the tunnel, but they're not united on how to do it. Fifty-seven percent prefer a new viaduct, 30 percent want to drive on surface streets, nine percent want the tunnel, and five percent were undecided.
McGinn has recently said he wants the roadway torn down as soon as August. He fears an earthquake will be devastating to the viaduct and poses a major safety hazard to drivers.
However, McGinn vetoed the tunnel project because of what he said was the potential for cost overruns that would affect the tax payer, and the "crippling" effect it could have on downtown businesses.
In the meantime, the Washington State Department of Transportation installed a new earthquake closure system on the viaduct. It will shut down the viaduct within two minutes of a 5.0 magnitude or higher quake.
Crews inspected the structure last weekend and found no new cracks or structural damage. Inspections take place every three months to monitor its condition.
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