Watch: Take one final ride across the Alaskan Way Viaduct with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan
SEATTLE -- As the hours tick down to the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure, many Seattleites are trying to get in one final drive before the elevated freeway goes away forever.
That includes Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, who grew up in the area.
She took one last drive across the viaduct with KOMO NewsRadio's Ryan Harris that was broadcast live on KOMO News' Facebook page. She shared her memories about the viaduct and her thoughts on how the city is prepared for the upcoming "Seattle Squeeze" during the three-week gap between the viaduct's closure and the opening of the new Highway 99 tunnel.
"Look at his view -- Olympic Mountains, Ferris Wheel, cranes, ferry boats on one side," Durkan said as she drove up onto the south side of the upper deck. "Unbelievable Downtown on the other side."
She mentioned one of the other benefits to the tunnel is reconnecting some streets in the South Lake Union area that had long-been severed by Highway 99.
"We're going to reestablish those street crossings which will be amazing, to have Seventh Avenue go and be part of the grid again," Durkan said. "It will reunite parts of that neighborhood in ways it hasn't."
And of course, the biggest change will be all the open space along the waterfront.
"If you think about this whole structure being gone, we're going to be connecting the (Pike Place) Market up right with the (Seattle) Aquarium and all of this will be open to the people of Seattle," Durkan said. "And Belltown - the noise will be gone, the structure will be gone, there will be more green space."
The viaduct closes forever at 10 p.m. Friday.