Seattle waterfront tunnel

Bertha Blues
12:39 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

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

WSDOT

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, The Boring Machine
1:57 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Bertha, the Boring Machine, Digs Out of Launch Pit

Crew members adjust the SR 99 tunneling machine’s segment feeder, which moves into place the curved concrete segments that form the tunnel walls.
WSDOT

The machine boring a new Highway 99 tunnel under downtown Seattle has finally dug itself out of its own launch pit.

The Transportation Department said Wednesday the 326-foot long machine it calls Bertha has drilled 359 feet.

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Tracking Bertha
11:01 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Bertha, world's largest boring machine, arrives in Seattle

WSDOT

Bertha, the world's largest tunnel boring machine, has finally arrived in Seattle's Elliott Bay.

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Tunnel Safety
10:44 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Preparedness and special equipment make Seattle tunnels safe, say fire chiefs in Satsop

Seattle Firefighters testing their mettle in a tunnel at Satsop Business Park, west of Olympia. The never-finished power plants and underground water pipes here are used for safety drills by firefighters from around the country.
Jason Bauscher photo KPLU News

This week, the Seattle Fire Department has been in training for what might be a nightmare scenario: the possibility of fire inside a deep-bore tunnel.  A technical rescue team has been practicing at the unfinished nuclear power plant in Satsop, west of Olympia.

About a dozen firefighters are in a huddle at the base what was designed to be a cooling tower. It’s been re-purposed into one of the nation’s premiere training grounds for urban firefighters.

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Seattle tunnel
9:21 am
Thu September 13, 2012

'Ratpocalypse:' Seattle tunnel dig could bring rats to surface

PKMousie Flickr

The big dig along the Seattle waterfront that will build a traffic tunnel could also displace scores of rats and cockroaches. KOMO News reports that pest control experts say the rats will flee the massive construction project for quieter homes and food. That means buildings around the dig could see more rats.

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Public Transit Troubles
10:50 am
Thu September 8, 2011

Public transit during viaduct replacement likely to fall short

The south end of the Alaskan Way viaduct could become a driving challenge after funds to mitigate traffic with public transit run out. State officials expect that to happen halfway through the project.
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

A plan to use public transit to offset traffic congestion while the new Highway 99 tunnel is built in Seattle is expected to run out of money – long before the project is completed.

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Traffic News
3:45 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Update: Viaduct to close for 9 days to put up detour connections

Construction of the new southbound SR 99 roadway underway just west of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle.
WSDOT

It’s the beginning of the end for the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Demolition work will shut down the double-decker highway for 9 days about two months from now, from October 21 – 31. According the state Department of Transportation, it’s the longest full closure of a Seattle area highway the city’s ever dealt with.

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Elections
7:01 am
Wed August 17, 2011

Voters green light Seattle's waterfront tunnel

SR 99 bored tunnel south portal design concept based on Seattle Tunnel Partner's design-build proposal for the tunnel.
WSDOT

The results are in for the primary election and the majority of Seattle voters have given the go-ahead to a tunnel that would replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct along the city's waterfront. Nearly 60% of the voters said yes – bringing over a decade of debate to a close.

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Business
7:44 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

Gregoire says Spain sold her on deep-bore tunnel

Photos of the demolition of the First Avenue S. on-ramp to SR 99 in Seattle on Feb 18-19, 2011. The demolition is part of construction to replace the south end of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
WSDOT

If you question whether the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle should be replaced with a deep-bore tunnel, a trip to Madrid, Spain, could clear up some uncertainties. That’s all Governor Chris Gregoire said it took to confirm her decision.

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Law
4:11 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Seattle can vote on viaduct tunnel, judge says

Seattle voters will have a chance to chime in again on the planned deep-bore tunnel that's supposed to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. 

That's the word from Judge Laura Middaugh who this afternoon sided with the supporters of a referendum, saying  her goal is to make sure that the voices of the people are heard when a policy decision is made.  She said she had not been able to find any precedents in case law to support her stance.

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Viaduct Replacement Tunnel
2:45 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

Judge clears way for tunnel vote

A vote on whether to build a tunnel to replace the aging Alaskan Way viaduct can take place, a King County Judge ruled today (Friday).

King County Superior Court Judge Laura Middaugh said some parts of the agreements that cover utilities, insurance, right-of-way and other issues can be in the referendum but others can't. She'll hear arguments next Friday on which parts could be included in an August vote and whether she has the authority to partially rewrite language in the referendum.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement
3:06 pm
Tue March 29, 2011

Legal questions confront proposed Seattle referendum on tunnel

Seattle's Alaskan Way viaduct remains the focus of political controversy.
AP

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has filed a legal challenge to a citizen referendum on Seattle's proposed deep-bore waterfront tunnel.

Holmes has asked a judge to rule on whether the construction agreements between the city and the state that targeted by the referendum are “administrative actions” which can't be overturned by the vote. 

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Earthquake Preparedness
5:22 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

Viaduct closure; Emergency system triggered by seismic sensors

A map showing where automated traffic control gates will go on State Route 99 in Seattle. The automated viaduct closure gates system improves safety by preventing people from driving onto the viaduct after a moderate to severe earthquake.
WSDOT

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has been calling for a closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct as soon as possible.  That's because it's an earthquake hazard.  Other leaders think that's an over-reaction, since a new tunnel is already in the works. 

But the Viaduct will close this weekend for its semi-annual inspection.  Drivers will have to re-route their travel for two days.  Routine maintenance on the old structure was scheduled long before the earthquake in Japan. 

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Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement
7:41 am
Tue March 15, 2011

McGinn: Take the viaduct down by next year

Traffic at left heads northbound on Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct, above the southbound lanes below, through downtown.
AP

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says he thinks the city’s waterfront viaduct poses an earthquake risk and should be taken down next year.

That's a good four years before the viaduct's planned replacement -- a deep-bore tunnel under downtown -- would be ready.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement
2:24 pm
Mon February 28, 2011

Seattle City Council overrides mayor’s tunnel veto, groups push for public vote

Supports and opponents of the planned deep-bore tunnel replacement for Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct pack the city council chamber
King5 TV

If you’re waiting for the final chapter in the saga of Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, don’t hold your breath. The latest action by the city council has triggered an effort to put the question to the voters again.

In an often-raucous council chamber packed with both supporters and opponents of the planned deep-bore tunnel project, the City Council decisively overturned Mayor Mike McGinn’s veto of a set of agreements between the city and the state that would facilitate the tunnel.

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