Correction 8/1/13: A previous version of this story stated that the tunnel contractor had drilled through a power line but missed hitting live wires. In fact, the tunnel contractor drilled through a concrete power vault and it missed hitting the power lines inside.
The world’s largest tunneling machine started grinding into the soil beneath downtown Seattle Tuesday afternoon. The machine known as Bertha is digging a 58-foot-wide tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Very soon, a massive piece of machinery will start to burrow two miles out from Seattle. It’s building the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan way viaduct.
Tomorrow, WSDOT is hosting a big sendoff for the biggest tunneling machine in the world, affectionately named Bertha. The public is invited to check it out Saturday between 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., provided closed-toed shoes are worn.
Driving around Seattle this weekend will be trickier than normal. The Seattle Department Of Transportation plans to close parts of Aurora and Mercer Street around South Lake Union as part of the effort to convert Mercer into a two-way street. The city's now focusing on the Mercer West project, the section of Mercer between Dexter Avenue and West Fifth Avenue.
Bertha is here. The world’s largest tunnel boring machine arrived in Seattle Tuesday after being shipped from Japan. It’s expected to reach land sometime this week. After that, in a few months, it will get to work drilling the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.