Mile of Seattle viaduct to come down early

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Gov. Chris Gregoire says the southern mile of the aging, earthquake-vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle will be torn down six months ahead of schedule. The Washington Transportation Department says that will mean a net savings to taxpayers of $900,000.

Officials said Friday the demolition of that section will start in October, rather than next March.

State officials say they and contractor Skanska USA Civil found ways to streamline the project. The Seattle Times says the contractor for this work is operating under a $114 million contract.

Demolition of the southern mile of the elevated roadway along Seattle's waterfront is part of a long-range plan to completely replace the structure.

Arguments continue about the state's plan to replace the central part of the viaduct with a 1.7-mile deep-bored tunnel. The southern mile doesn't involve a tunnel.