Millions of rodents and roaches have lived underground long before construction on the tunnel started. As the Puget Sound Business Journal first reported, when the giant boring machine goes to work next year, pest control experts say those critters will scurry in search of quieter lodging.
"What's the next best place? It's in all the buildings in the city," said Shane Hartnett of Sprague Pest Solutions.
Sprague is launching a campaign urging business owners near the waterfront to start protecting themselves now. The company is using bike billboards that say, "Save your building: Ratpocalypse is coming."
Even without the ads, residents in the area know how serious an infestation could be.
"People can get bitten, can get rabies," said resident Regina Boyd.
And it's not just about health concerns, either. The prospect of having rats running through the streets won't be good for business.
"If they're out here drinking a beer and there are rats running around on the ground, yeah, that would kind of bother me some," Boyd said.
That scenario has happened before. Hartnett said when the Kingdome was demolished 12-years ago it caused a spike in rodent and roach infestations in the surrounding buildings.
The tunnel boring will last more than a year and a half, which will give pests a lot of time to settle into new homes if the building owners don't take precautions.
"It can affect one building, it can affect a whole block, and it can affect, in this case, the entire waterfront of the city," Hartnett said.