Dear residents and businesses of Pioneer Square:
It’s always a good thing to know what natural gas smells like and what to do if you suspect a leak. That’s why PSE regularly sponsors public service announcements regarding gas safety. With the recent reports of ground settlement in some areas of Pioneer Square, which could affect underground utilities, we’d like to remind you of some basic safety tips and tell you what we’re doing to ensure the safety of the natural gas system in the neighborhood.
PSE regularly inspects the pipes, meters and other equipment that bring natural gas to the region. As a precaution, we have increased the frequency of these inspections in Pioneer Square. These inspections have not shown any signs of damage or increased incidence of gas leaks.
In addition, as part of the tunnel project, we have increased the resiliency of our gas system in areas above the tunnel route by retrofitting or rebuilding gas pipes and connections that might be affected by ground settlement.
If you should ever smell the rotten egg or sulfur-like odor of natural gas, leave the building immediately and call PSE or 911.
- Don’t do anything inside the building, including making a phone call, that could cause a spark.
- If you notice the odor outside, move upwind of the odor and call PSE or 911. Other signs of a leak include hissing, bubbles rising in a puddle, and dead vegetation in unexpected places.
- PSE will dispatch a technician immediately, at no cost, to investigate.
For more safety tips and to smell the odor of natural gas, please see our natural gas safety brochure, which includes a “scratch and sniff” feature. Click here to request a brochure.
If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Customer Safety Communications Manager
Puget Sound Energy
I wanted to send a quick note to let you know the latest information about settlement in Pioneer Square.
We have told you about our settlement monitoring system that we installed as part of the SR 99 Tunnel Project. As we publicly announced last Friday, STP surveyors detected over one inch of ground settlement near the pit Seattle Tunnel Partners is building to access and repair the tunneling machine. We have also seen settlement on the Alaskan Way Viaduct and some of the buildings that we are monitoring; the amount of settlement lessens in the surrounding area.
Most of the settlement we’ve detected has been uniform, which usually means little to no damage to buildings and utilities. Engineers have been walking through the Pioneer Square neighborhood since we first learned of the new settlement. They have not seen any signs of new damage so far. An inspection team that includes an architect with historic building experience has been conducting interior building surveys since Monday and will continue over the next couple of weeks. If you have seen any recent changes in your building, such as new cracks or lengthening of cracks, sticking doors and windows or utility problems, please email us so we can set up an appointment.
Additionally, we have stepped up our monitoring frequency. Deep survey control points are checked approximately every other day and buildings and various points on the ground are surveyed once a day. Since Dec. 1, STP has not seen any appreciable change in settlement. Based on this, it appears that additional settlement is not occurring, though we will continue to closely monitor the situation.
At this time, Seattle Tunnel Partners is maintaining their dewatering system – and water levels remain static. However, they have stopped excavation until we can verify the new data. We will let you know when excavation resumes.
As for the crack in King Street, Seattle Tunnel Partners checked the site with ground-penetrating radar Thursday afternoon. While we are still awaiting the report, no voids were detected under the pavement.
If you have concerns about your building, property or utilities, please do not hesitate to call our hotline at 1-888-298-5463 or email us at email@example.com.
Todd V. Trepanier, PE
Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program
WSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners conducted additional survey work early Sunday morning (12/7/2014) to further assess the amount and extent of settlement that recently occurred on and near the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Some of the data was inconclusive and analysis is still underway; however, WSDOT observed that a small amount of differential settlement is occurring near the access pit. Differential settlement is when the ground settles unevenly over an area. When the ground settles evenly or uniformly over an area, there is less risk of damage.
The additional survey work did not find that the differential settlement has caused any new damage to the viaduct nor have we observed any damage to buildings or utilities in the surrounding area. On-the-ground surveys will continue this week by historic architects and structural engineers.
Public safety is our top priority and while we have not seen any damage, Seattle Tunnel Partners is taking the prudent step to stop dewatering. The contractor will work with its geostructural designer to stop the dewatering in a deliberate manner in order to ensure worker safety and the structural integrity of the access pit and surrounding structures.
Data analysis, collection and monitoring will continue and we will provide updates as we have new information to share.
Milepost 31 Speaker Series
Bertha and Progress on the SR 99 Tunnel Project
Seattle Tunnel Partners, the contractor hired by WSDOT to design and build the SR 99 tunnel, is working to repair the SR 99 tunneling machine. Join us to learn more about STP’s plan to resume tunneling by the end of March 2015, and learn about the other work happening to replace the viaduct.
6 – 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 5
Milepost 31, 211 First Ave. S., Seattle
Admission is free.
Seattle Tunnel Partners progress update: Construction of the access pit’s underground walls wraps up, preparation for dewatering begins
With fall just around the corner, we thought it was time for an update on Seattle Tunnel Partners’ progress to build the circular pit (pdf 2.5 Mb) that crews will use to access and repair the SR 99 tunneling machine.
The last time we updated you, STP announced that crews would continue to install the underground walls of the access pit through August. STP has notified WSDOT that they have completed all of the piles for the circular pit. Additional piles will be installed near the pit as part of the support system for the modular lift tower – the large crane that will hoist the machine’s 2,000-ton cutterhead and drive unit out of the ground.
Next up, dewatering wells. STP has notified us that crews will install several dewatering wells both inside the access pit and inside the enclosed area south of the access pit around the tunneling machine. Prep work is beginning now and crews should have them installed by mid-September. These wells will lower the groundwater inside the enclosed areas to make it easier to move the tunneling machine into the access pit, as well as to excavate the pit.
STP has notified us that tunneling machine operators will start Bertha in order to check internal systems in preparation for mining into the circular pit. Also, pieces of the three cranes that will be used to lift tunneling machine pieces out of the access pit are continuing to arrive from around the world. Soon you will see these pieces being assembled next to the access pit.
STP still expects to resume tunneling in March 2015. For a better view of construction, check out our time-lapse camera, or view photos of recent construction on Flickr.