Alaskan Way viaduct

A Different Kind of Bore
12:27 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Bertha Rescue Plan On Hold While Archaeologists Check Soil For Sites

In 1884, the intersection of First Avenue South and Main Street looked like this. Bertha now sits 60 feet below the same area.
Peterson and Brothers Museum of History and Industry, Seattle

The plan to dig a shaft 12 stories deep to fix Bertha, the Seattle tunnel boring machine, has been put on hold while archaeologists make sure crews won’t dig through important historical sites. 

On Thursday, workers started boring approximately 60 holes, each about as wide as a grapefruit, and digging as deep as 40 feet down through layers of Seattle's floor, which, at the moment, is also Bertha's ceiling. 

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12:37 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

WSDOT: Cracks Found On Viaduct, But Roadway Still Safe For Traffic


State highway engineers will shut down a stretch of the Alaskan Way viaduct later this month to take a closer look at cracks found on the roadway.

What workers found during a routine inspection of the viaduct on March 1 isn’t that unusual, says Tom Baker, an engineer with the Washington state Department of Transportation.

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Bertha Blues
12:22 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Seattle Tunnel Builders To Dig Shaft In Front Of Bertha For Repairs

File image

The Washington state Transportation Department says that, as expected, the contractors digging a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle will repair a seal system on the tunneling machine by digging a shaft in front of it.

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Bertha Blues
12:39 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Expert: Bertha's Woes Are No 'Big Dig'


The prospect of taking the State Route 99 tunneling machine known as Bertha offline for as much as half a year is not good news for the company operating it. But one Seattle tunneling expert says it could be worse.

“It’s really a problem with the machine itself. I think it’s something that can be repaired,” said the University of Washington’s Joseph Wartman. “And I think in a couple of years when the tunnel is open, people will have forgotten about this.”

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Bertha Blues
4:17 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Contractor: Evidence Could Put Taxpayers On The Hook For Bertha Cost Overruns

Seattle Tunnel Partners

Washington transportation officials and the private contractor operating the tunneling machine known as Bertha disagree on what’s holding up progress on the Highway 99 tunnel project. Neither had definitive answers, but appearing together Tuesday at a news conference, it became clear they’re leaning toward conflicting theories.

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Bertha, The Boring Machine
9:24 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

WSDOT: Fixing Bertha 'Will Take Months'

This screen grab shows a crew member clearing away clogging dirt from the cutterhead.

The state contractor hasn’t yet decided how to fix the broken seal near Bertha’s bearing, but “either way, this process will take months,” said the state Department of Transportation late Monday.

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Bertha, The Boring Machine
2:27 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Bertha: Broken, Not Blocked, Says WSDOT

This screen grab shows a crew member clearing away clogging dirt from the cutterhead.

Remember that big steel pipe — eight inches wide, part of an old well?

The Washington State Department of Transportation never actually accused that pipe of blocking Bertha, but it was definitely a prime suspect.

But on Friday, WSDOT said the pipe isn’t, and never was, the problem.

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Bertha, The Boring Machine
9:11 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Seattle Tunneling Operations On Hold Yet Again

"Survey says, 'This is one big tunnel."

Seattle's massive tunneling operation is on hold yet again due to ongoing problems with the world's largest boring machine.

After a seven-week stoppage, crews restarted the tunneling machine earlier this week and moved it forward about two feet. Washington state's Department of Transportation said Friday that the machinery showed above-normal temperature readings when that movement occurred.

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Bertha, The Boring Machine
9:54 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Tunneling Machine Bertha Moves Ahead 2 Feet

Taken on Jan. 2 during a visual inspection of the SR 99 tunneling machine's excavation chamber, this photo shows a steel pipe protruding through an opening in the machine's cutterhead.

A Washington Transportation Department spokeswoman says the giant machine digging a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle has advanced two more feet, far enough to allow crews to build the next concrete ring of the tunnel.

Tuesday's progress was the first for the machine in nearly two months, since it stalled Dec. 6 some 60 feet underground.

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10:32 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Senator: Seattle Should Pay For Tunnel Cost Overruns

SR 99 tunnel crews drill to look for obstruction.

A leading Republican in the state Senate says Seattle taxpayers should foot the bill for any potential cost overruns on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project.

The machine digging a tunnel to replace the elevated highway along Seattle's waterfront has been stuck for more than a month, raising concerns that more funds will be needed for that $1.4 billion project.

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Election 2013
11:58 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Seattle Mayoral Candidates: Who Pays if Tunnel Goes Over Budget?

What if Seattle gets stuck with cost overruns on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project?

That question sparked a lively exchange on KING-TV between the two candidates for mayor of Seattle during their first televised debate.

During the hour long debate sponsored by KING-TV, KIRO-FM and The Seattle Times, Mayor Mike McGinn and Sen. Ed Murray traded jabs on everything from leadership style to police reform.

But their discussion of the tunnel project raised one of the most interesting questions.

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Bertha, The Boring Machine
4:18 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Boring Bertha Back to Eating Dirt after Month Delay


The drill known as Bertha is back to eating dirt after a slow start, then a delay, then a delay caused by the delay.

The massive machine boring the Highway 99 tunnel beneath Seattle had been sitting still while two labor unions duked it out over a handful of jobs.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week he’d brokered a deal in the dispute, and said the digging would resume after a few days.

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Boring Bertha
5:01 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Bertha, World's Largest Boring Machine, Ready to Dig


The State Route 99 tunnel boring machine, better known by her nickname “Bertha,” is poised and ready to begin the dig under downtown.  

To get a bird’s eye view, we climb three stories on temporary metal staircases near Pioneer Square. At the top, we’re standing on what remains of the lower deck of the Alaskan Way viaduct. 

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Rats and Roaches
5:43 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Mobile warnings of 'ratpocalypse' hit streets in Pioneer Square

@Ratpacolypse street team Tanner Gregg, Landon Machado and Billy Martin out with mobile billboards.
Evan Hoover KPLU

Replacing Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct is going to bring more than dust and noise; it’s also predicted to create a mass exodus of rats and cockroaches in search of quieter places to hide, feed and cause damage.

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2:57 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Future loss of parking challenging Pike Place Market

Site of the redevelopment dilemma facing Pike Place Market and the new waterfront once the Viaduct comes down.

The complete removal of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct is years away. The tunnel replacing it won’t open till 2015.

But this summer marks a crucial moment for the iconic Pike Place Market as the waterfront is redeveloped.

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