Monday, February 8, 2010

The Earthquake Knocking Down Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct Nightmare

I go through phases of thematic nightmares. Variations of the themes will repeat and then fade away.

Currently my recurring nightmare themes are...

1) I get in a situation where my dad is driving. I ask him to slow down. He then careens out of control and we are airborne, flying off a high precipice. Yet somehow my dad safely lands the car, every time.

2) A rattlesnake will slither out of a light socket and then chase me.

3) I can not get light switches to turn on lights for me. I know. Deep Freudian meaning there. Same with the snake. And probably my dad's driving.

4) I am parking my car under Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct when the Big One strikes.

I think I began having the Alaskan Way Viaduct nightmare after I watched a YouTube video simulating what would happen to the Viaduct if an earthquake similar to the 2001 Nisqually shaker, lasted 20 seconds longer, was 10 miles closer and a .2 magnitude greater.

I think the reason I'm parking under the Viaduct in my nightmare is because the last time I was in Seattle I had a hard time finding a parking space under the Viaduct, then gave up and went elsewhere and had some more trouble finding a parking place. Parking in Seattle used to be so easy. Not anymore.

After the 2001 Nisqually Quake damaged the Viaduct it was pretty much unanimously agreed that something had to be done to remove the danger. There had been talk of that danger ever since the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake knocked down a structure similar to the Viaduct, that being the Cypress Street Viaduct on Interstate 880 in Oakland, killing 42.

Now that agreement has been reached to spend a few $billion to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel, ready for vehicles, hopefully, in about 5 years, I'm thinking the Viaduct needs to come down now. Why take a 5 year chance on an earthquake knocking it down?

I'm guessing if the Viaduct were taken down now it would expedite the building of the new tunnel. Yes, it would cause some traffic problems. Already trucks are not allowed on the Viaduct. The voluntary loss of the Viaduct would likely get more people on mass transit. That would be a good thing.

It would be more than horrible for a quake to take down the Viaduct, with the solution in motion, killing people, doing damage, slowing up construction.

I have always disliked the Alaskan Way Viaduct. It's been there all my life, noisy, casting a shadow on the waterfront, putting up a wall between downtown Seattle and the waterfront.

Take it down. NOW.

And if you want to risk Alaskan Way Viaduct Earthquake nightmares, watch the YouTube video below....

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