Bertha

Alaskan Way Viaduct
2:46 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

First Stuck, Now Broken: What's Wrong With Bertha?

Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation

Marcie Sillman talks with state transportation secretary Lynn Peterson about Bertha's latest condition and plans to get the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine moving again.

Alaskan Way Viaduct
2:36 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Mayor Murray On Bertha: ‘I Don’t Think We Should Get Involved In Finger-Pointing’

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Ross Reynolds talks with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about Bertha's continuing woes and who would ultimately be on the hook for cost overruns.

Stuck In Place
4:51 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Seattle's Tunnel Machine Chokes On Dirt

Seattle Tunnel Partners workers atop a tank of soil conditioner used by tunnel builders
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

State officials said Friday afternoon that the tunneling machine known as Bertha had to stop, not because it hit foreign objects, but because it clogged with dirt.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct
2:55 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Why Isn't Bertha Moving?

Bertha, the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine, has been stuck under Seattle since Dec. 6, 2013.
Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation

David Hyde talks with Mike Lindblom, Seattle Times transportation reporter, about why Bertha hasn't  moved since December.

Bertha is the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine that has been charged with digging out the replacement path for the Alaskan Way Viaduct under Seattle.

History
2:40 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Buried Treasure: Burke Museum On What's Ahead For Bertha

This Rainier bottle from the Seattle Brewing & Malting Co. was excavated during an archaeological survey in preparation for Bertha.
Courtesy of Burke Museum

David Hyde visits the basement of Burke Museum to speak with geology writer David Williams about the historical artifacts that have been unearthed by Seattle's relentless earth moving.

Alaskan Way Viaduct
5:32 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Still No Answers For Stuck Bertha

Washington Department of Transportation's Matt Preedy points out the new roadway that will lead into the tunnel.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

So far, crews trying to determine what’s stalling the State Route 99 tunnel machine have found a hard object more than three feet wide lodged in it.

They’ve also found metal and plastic piping. But what exactly is causing the stoppage is still unknown.

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Week In Review
1:11 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Richard Sherman Post-NFC Interview, Bertha's Troubles, And Changes At Eastside Catholic School

In Seattle, the Seahawks and Richard Sherman have ruled the headlines in the last week.
Flickr Photo/Mark Samia

A post-NFC championship game interview with Richard Sherman causes controversy. Is Seattle the "bad guy" in the Super Bowl narrative? Plus, Bertha stays stuck, and the Eastside Catholic School president steps down.

We review these stories and more with news analyst Joni Balter, Crosscut's Knute Berger and The Stranger's Eli Sanders. Plus, we hear from Live Wire host Luke Burbank.

Alaskan Way Viaduct
4:34 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

What's In A Name? Apparently, Forgiveness For Bertha

Bertha, the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine, has been stuck under Seattle since Dec. 6, 2013.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT

She loves dirt and hates sunlight. Seattle Magazine named her one of 2013’s most influential people, except she’s not really a person. She’s Bertha, the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine, charged with digging out the replacement path for the Alaskan Way Viaduct under Seattle.

Her profile on the Washington State Department of Transportation site lists her occupation as a tunneling specialist, but right now she’s stuck and has been since December 6. In light of her current predicament, the decision to name the machine, and thus humanize it, could be a shrewd move.

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The Week In Review
1:45 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Inslee's State Of The State, Legislative Session Kicks Off, And Machinists Union President Retires

Tom Wroblewski, pictured in 2012, has stepped down as president of the local Machinists union. His last day is Jan. 31.
Photo IAM District 751

Washington Governor Jay Inslee pushed for a higher minimum wage and increased education funding during his State of the State Address this week. The state legislature kicked off its 2014 session. Also, Boeing Machinists Union President Tom Wroblewski announced his retirement.

We review these stories and more with news analyst Joni Balter, Crosscut's Knute Berger and The Stranger's Eli Sanders. Plus, we hear from Live Wire host Luke Burbank.

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Transportation
11:38 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Workers To Descend Into Blocked Bertha In A Pressurized Bubble

A Seattle Tunnel Partners crew works on one of the tanks holding soil conditioner being used to seal an underground air bubble.
Credit KUOW Photo/John Ryan

To get Bertha moving again, state officials announced Wednesday that they are sending in human reinforcements – in a giant, pressurized bubble.

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Transportation
2:44 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Anything But Boring: Bertha Updates

Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds gets an update from WSDOT Highway 99 Program Administrator Matt Preedy on how and when Bertha will move forward, and who is going to pay for it.

Viaduct Project
4:11 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

What's Blocking Bertha? Probably An 8-Inch Steel Pipe

A glimpse of the steel pipe burrowing into Bertha.
Credit WSDOT Photo

An 8-inch-wide steel pipe.

That’s what is likely blocking Bertha, the boring machine creating a tunnel through downtown Seattle to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

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Transportation
2:56 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

SDOT Projects Depend Upon Bertha's Advance

Bertha carved just over 1,000 feet before getting stuck in December and has not moved since.
Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation

Marcie Sillman talks with Jon Layzer, director of major projects for the Seattle Department of Transportation, about how city capital projects are intricately connected to the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.

SR 99 Tunnel
2:45 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Is An Ice Age Boulder Blocking Bertha?

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

Jeannie Yandel talks with University of Washington geology professor Terry Swanson about glacial erratics and how one might be blocking the tunneling machine named Bertha.

Around the Nation
6:45 am
Sun December 22, 2013

'Bertha' Still Stuck In Her Tunnel Under Seattle

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 11:33 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The people of Seattle are puzzled by a mystery unfolding underground: the world's biggest tunneling machine is stuck about 75 feet under street level where it's digging a nearly two-mile-long highway right under downtown Seattle. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, engineers say it'll take until January to figure out what is causing the block.

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