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Valley engineer digs "first-of-its-kind" Bellevue tunnel

The first of its kind in the world, an underground car and pedestrian tunnel under the busiest shopping district in Bellevue is the brainchild of Snoqualmie engineer Chris Breeds.

Breeds, president of North Bend-based SubTerra Inc., and his staff designed the tunnel for the Kemper Development Co. in Bellevue. It connects the third underground parking level of Bellevue Place with the underground garage of Lincoln Square, connecting 10,000 parking spaces without the need to drive or walk aboveground.

Work began last winter and wrapped up with a ribbon cutting Dec. 1.

Tough tunnel

The 96-foot long, 40-foot wide tunnel's two car lanes and two pedestrian lanes connect beneath the streets at a 7 percent downward gradient. Challenges included the fact that the tunnel connects at an angle between the buildings instead of straight on to make it easier for cars to navigate, and the tunnel was built not on the very bottom of the basement, but three levels up.

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