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Documents: Seattle tunnel contractor wants $190M more

The contractor digging a highway tunnel under Seattle is asking for $190 million in extra pay.

Documents obtained by The Seattle Times show Seattle Tunnel Partners has asked for $62.6 million in change orders on top of the $125 million they want for repairing the tunnel-boring machine.

The Seattle Times reports the proposed cost increase would equal nearly $300 for every resident of Seattle or $27 for every person in the state of Washington.

If the state has to pay the whole amount, it would add 13 percent to the project already valued at $1.44 billion.

The state’s Highway 99 tunnel administrator downplayed the requests from Seattle Tunnel Partners, however, saying there was a “very slim chance” the state would have to pay for those expenses.

Officials say it will be nearly a year before the damaged tunnel-boring machine stuck under downtown Seattle can start digging again.

The Washington State Department of Transportation announced last week that according to the plan provided to them by Seattle Tunnel Partners, digging is not expected to resume on the SR-99 Seattle tunnel project until the end of March 2015.

The completed tunnel will allow the state to tear down the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the 60-year-old double-decker highway along the Seattle waterfront that is in danger of collapsing in an earthquake.

The goal is to open the four-lane tunnel to traffic by November 2016.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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