Bertha Rests Before Big Push Under Viaduct | KUOW News and Information

Bertha Rests Before Big Push Under Viaduct

Mar 26, 2016

Bertha has stopped again, but this time, it’s on purpose.

The tunnel boring machine rests in an underground concrete vault. Workers are putting the tunnel boring machine through complex tests before it pushes under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. 

What makes the tests complex is that workers operate in a highly pressurized environment behind the Bertha’s cutterhead. The air is pressurized so that water and mud doesn’t leak into the space and bury them. Workers have to acclimate to the pressure slowly, like divers.

Bertha’s drive under the viaduct will take a couple of weeks. The viaduct will close when the drill is beneath it, just to be safe.

We don’t know the exact dates of that closure yet.

Flickr photo by Washington State Department of Transportation.