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Originally published Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Historic designation sought for Alaskan Way Viaduct

Architect and civic activist Art Skolnik has again filed an application with the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation to have the Alaskan Way Viaduct named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Architect and civic activist Art Skolnik has again filed an application with the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation to have the Alaskan Way Viaduct named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Skolnik has long been an advocate of repairing, not replacing, the 2.2-mile viaduct, which opened in 1953.

The state is now weighing eight options for replacing the viaduct, everything from a tunnel to another elevated structure to surface streets.

In his application, Skolnik said the viaduct and Battery Street Tunnel are "two of the more innovative and creative structures built during that decade."

He said the viaduct was the first double-deck bridge built in Washington, which is a significant engineering feature that should grant it landmark status.

State Historic Preservation Officer Allyson Brooks said Skolnik has twice submitted an application for historic status, but those applications weren't accepted because they didn't meet professional standards.

If this application is acceptable, it will be considered in February by the governor's advisory committee on historic preservation. If the committee recommends historic status, the recommendation goes to the National Park Service, which makes the final determination, said Brooks.

Ironically, she said, Skolnik supports retrofitting, rather than replacing the viaduct. She said a retrofit would destroy its historical significance and it would be removed from the registry.

"For our purposes, the proposed Skolnik retrofit creates enough damage as a demolished property and it comes off historic register," Brooks said.

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