Head of Seattle tunnel project announces his departure
SEATTLE — For the second time this year, a high-level state transportation official will leave Seattle’s troubled tunnel project for work elsewhere.
Todd Trepanier, administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, announced Monday he has accepted the position of administrator for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s South-Central Region.
“I love working for this team. This is one of the most exciting projects in the state, so I don’t want to leave the (tunnel) project, but regional administrator positions don’t come up that often,” Trepanier said.
Trepanier said the change had nothing to do with ongoing delays at the tunnel project, including a recent announcement that the project may not be completed until the spring 2018, more than two years behind schedule.
His departure follows the exit of the project’s deputy program administrator, Matt Preedy, who left earlier this year to work for Sound Transit.
Both Trepanier and Preedy have been the faces on the project for WSDOT, often answering tough questions about updates and delays.
Trepanier said he will stay on in his current role until a replacement can be found and until Bertha, the tunneling machine, resumes drilling. The machine, the largest of its kind in the world, broke down underground in December 2013.
Asked Monday to characterize his frustration with the project’s delays on a “scale of 1 to 10,” Trepanier said he was “not frustrated at all.”
“As I’ve said before, I love this project. I love coming to work every day. It’s one of the most exciting things that’s happening,” he said. “This project is doing amazing things. This is one heck of a machine as you’ve all seen out there. We see Seattle Tunnel Partners through Hitachi Zosen doing a lot of work to repair and put this machine back together. I’m excited and I will be back here when the ribbon is cut and the project is done.”