Viaduct demolition head: ‘This is one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever done’
Crews continue to inch their way through the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, for a job the project’s head calls one of his tallest orders ever.
“I’ve been in the demolition industry for 32 years, and this is one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever done,” said Ferma Corporation’s Kelly Arnold in a recent WSDOT video. Arnold works as the National Projects Division Manager and is overseeing the demolition process.
The difficulties crews have encountered have been numerous over the months-long process of fully removing the iconic freeway from Seattle’s waterfront. That’s had things moving slowly, marked by delays reported in April.
In terms of what specifically they’re dealing with, the list is long.
“A lot of it is the close proximity of the buildings, the close proximity of live traffic, the close proximity of pedestrians; it just makes it very difficult,” Arnold said.
Crews have been working to remove the viaduct in stages. First they punch out the upper roadway between rows of girders, something they call “swabbing the deck.” Then, they use what Arnold describes as “the biggest machine we have” to fully take down the upper girders.
The girders are then sawed and removed with cranes, the columns are munched down by more machines, and the process repeats on the lower deck.
“There’s so much material, you can’t haul it all fast enough,” Arnold noted.
As of publishing, crews have removed most of the north end of the viaduct, as well as a large chunk of the roadway in the central waterfront. They are actively working now to remove the portion near the railroad tracks, as well as the rest of the remaining central waterfront pieces.
You can track the full progress of the demolition here.