SR 99 Tunnel Project
We were awarded the signage package as part of the overarching completion of the SR 99 Tunnel Project, opened in February 2019. The two-mile, double-decker tunnel carries a section of State Route 99 under Downtown Seattle from SoDo in the south to South Lake Union in the north. It is the largest double-deck highway tunnel of its kind in the country and features modern safety and operations systems. The total value of the project overall is estimated at $3.3B, with $1.2M designated for signage. We recognized the bid opportunity presented by Seattle Tunnel Partners as a platform designed to reach out to locally-owned signage experts who could not only handle the production capacity required, but also project manage to critical deadlines and assemble an installation crew that could work efficiently and safely to code.
The SR99 Tunnel Project signage system is large in scope and volume. We provided detailed shop drawings for a wide range of oversized stencil graphics, rigid signs, and cut vinyl; communicated with construction project managers for approvals; sourced materials for each set of signage; and set production schedules to meet aggressive installation goals. Our onsite installation crew was certified in OSHA training and safety, and supervised at all stages inside the tunnel by Company Owner Brian Sims and Production Manager/Shop Foreman Jeremy Kirchner. Our large format department worked countless hours prepping every inch of paint masking, vinyl, printed panels and hardware – all of this while continuing to produce work for our regular clients in the process.
The full contractual signage package(s) consists of:
- North Operations Building: Flat cut aluminum WSDOT logo and building identification lettering and cast aluminum letters finished with dark bronze anodized effect were mounted to aluminum bars installed flush to the building exterior. Additionally, we printed a 15-panel, 34.5’ vinyl full color mural and installed in the landing and stairwell wall leading down to the egress corridor.
- South Operations Building: Flat cut aluminum WSDOT logo and building identification lettering and cast aluminum letters finished with dark bronze anodized effect were mounted to aluminum bars installed flush to the building exterior.
Northbound / Southbound Traffic Passages (two miles inside bored tunnel):
- Stencil Painted Graphics – Fire Zone and Exit: Primarily known now as the 7ft tall “green stick figures” or “green running men”, these stencil painted graphics included Exit location directional signage and Fire Zone identification throughout the entire length of the northbound and southbound tunnel passages. Paint mask was called out for and oversized stencils were installed at critical elevation views. Additional stencil painted graphics were commissioned for smaller black Fire/Phone identification throughout each passage as well.
- Breakform Fire / Phone Signs: Breakformed .090 white painted aluminum Fire Pull and Standalone Phone signs (14) with vinyl graphics mounted with galvanized angle strap and break-away sign post anchors.
- Exit / No Exit / Caution Signs: Aluminum panels with reflective sheeting was produced with either direct print graphics or cut vinyl lettering dependent on callouts. Signs were mounted with Silicone and VHB.
- Cut Vinyl: White, red and black cut vinyl were applied to all wall and doorway points of exit and entry throughout the length of the tunnel on all levels.
- Stairwell Signs: Black acrylic laminate signs with raised white tactile lettering were mounted according to plans to note street access locations throughout length of tunnel on all levels.
Utilidor and Egress Passages (Mechanical, Maintenance, etc.):
- Aluminum Panels – Exit Identification: Aluminum panel signs of varying sizes produced with printed vinyl graphics applied first surface and fastened to the walls with SST Channel Support System.
Contract work of this magnitude offers opportunities for local sign vendors like us to continue to grow and reinvest in our business. Equipment upgrades, service offerings and expansion of capabilities benefits all of our clients and is vital to staying in step with an evolving print and sign industry. The SR 99 Tunnel Project was both a great learning experience and a wonderful opportunity to showcase our strengths as professionals in a competitive Northwest sign industry.