Drivers smelling fumes in new SR 99 tunnel

Drivers smelling fumes in new SR 99 tunnel (PHOTO: KOMO News)

SEATTLE, Wash. -- For a second day drivers report smelling fumes inside the new State Route 99 tunnel.

The Washington State Department of Transportation says they are working to calibrate gas detecting sensors inside the tunnel.

“I smelled a little bit of exhaust fumes with the window down,” said one driver.

The State Department of Transportation says congestion in the tunnel, like seen during the Thursday morning commute when a car stalled, increases fumes.

“When vehicles are traveling less than 30 miles an hour there can be a buildup,” said David Sowers, the deputy administrator of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program for WSDOT.

The level of fumes detected in the tunnel are not considered dangerous, according to WSDOT. Seventeen jet fans are designed to automatically turn on when strong gases are detected.

“Those are designed to come on autocratically so right now we are calibrating when those sensors would kick on and push that air though,” said Sowers.

WSDOT says they hope to have fans working properly with traffic follow by next week.

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