It was just after 9 p.m. and there we were in Tukwila, having just finished a soccer match.
Should we make one last break for a joy ride on Seattle’s famed (and doomed) Alaskan Way Viaduct before it closed at 10 p.m.?
As it happened, hundreds of other revelers had a similar idea — classic car buffs, motorcycle daredevils, amateur Instagrammers.
Seattle was partying on its favorite elevated double decker concrete freeway, first opened in 1953 and set to rest to motorists Friday night.
Wikipedia didn’t waste much time in changing the Viaduct’s status, with the popular encyclopedia now describing it as a “defunct” freeway. And social media went wild with the nostalgia.
My brother, son and I finished our epic voyage through the Battery Street Tunnel at 9:52 pm, among the last cars to pass as a barrier truck with lights flashing drove behind us to close off the roadway. It was an epic moment enjoyed by longtime Seattleites and newcomers like my son who declared: “This is awesome, I love this.”
A new era is emerging in Seattle. And while we hold memories of the structures of the past, Seattle — the porthole to the Pacific — is all about looking to the future. We hope to celebrate the new era with the 9,270-foot long replacement tunnel taking us to new places.
But each time we travel under Seattle’s surface in the Bertha-born tunnel, I’ll remember the viaduct — it’s spectacular views and rickety concrete beams that made me speed up just a bit in case the big one hit at that exact moment.
Not to mention the lack of tolls!
Good night, Viaduct!