Bertha | KUOW News and Information

Bertha

Stories about Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine. Should also be used for tunnel or Alaskan Way Viaduct stories.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

Transportation officials say a stretch of the Alaskan Way Viaduct settled an inch last month.

They told state legislators Friday that there is no risk to public safety from the newly discovered subsidence of the elevated highway. KUOW's John Ryan reports.

TRANSCRIPT

The viaduct sank an inch during a two-week span in November, right next to a giant shaft that's being dug near King Street and Yesler Way.

That access shaft is needed to dig up and repair the tunneling machine known as Bertha.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Although the tunnel boring machine known as “Bertha” is at a standstill, work is still underway to replace Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Flickr Photo/Nantaskart!

One of the two companies attempting to dig a highway tunnel beneath the Seattle waterfront has won an $80 million dispute with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Two workers walk through the first rings of the tunnel toward Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The builders of the tunnel machine stuck beneath the Seattle waterfront don’t just plan to repair the world’s largest tunnel machine.

How Bertha Compares To Other Mega Projects

May 2, 2014
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to professor Wendy Haynes of Bridgewater State University about the problems associated with billion-dollar mega-projects.

Bertha Costs: Who Will Pick Up The Tab?

Apr 29, 2014
Two workers walk through the first rings of the tunnel toward Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Lynn Peterson, Washington state transportation secretary, about the estimated $125 million in extra costs for Bertha's tunneling delay.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

A tunnel machine is set to resume digging beneath the streets of Seattle in mid-June.

No, it's not Bertha. It's Brenda.

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

David Hyde speaks with former transportation secretary Doug MacDonald about the recent budget issues with Seattle’s tunnel project.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

State transportation officials say the tunnel machine now stuck beneath the downtown Seattle waterfront won't resume tunneling for another 10 months. Digging is now forecast to resume in March 2015.

Bertha's Progress

Mar 21, 2014
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bertha, the world's biggest tunneling machine, is a five-story-tall monstrosity of drilling tasked with digging out the tunnel for State Route 99 to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT

The past could present yet another obstacle to the future of the state Route 99 megaproject on the Seattle waterfront.

Archaeologists with the tunnel project started digging a series of 60 small holes Thursday to see if any signs of historic or prehistoric human activity are in the area.

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

It’s been hard to get straight answers about what forced Bertha, the world's largest tunnel machine, to halt. It began boring July 30, 2013, and when Bertha broke down in December, it was ahead of schedule. Since then, the machine has been mostly idle beneath the Seattle waterfront. Project officials still haven't publicly identified a root cause.

Contractors working for the state of Washington are planning a high-stakes operation to rescue Bertha — the world's largest tunneling machine.

Bertha is supposed to be boring a 2-mile highway tunnel under downtown Seattle, but it got stuck in December.

Bertha is on Seattle's waterfront, between South Main and South Jackson streets, about 60 feet straight down. At first, they thought the machine was being stymied by a big glacial rock. Then attention focused on the chewed-up remains of a metal pipe. But now it seems Bertha's ailment is mechanical.

KUOW/John Ryan

Seattle's tunnel builders say getting their world-record tunnel machine going again will take at least six more months.

The tunnel machine known as Bertha has sat largely motionless for nearly three months since it overheated in early December.

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

Bertha needs a face lift.

Washington State Department of Transportation officials told the Seattle City Council Monday afternoon that the face of the state Route 99 tunnel machine has to come off in order to repair its damaged machinery.

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