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‘Finish line in sight’ for Bertha under Seattle

The intersectino of Blanchard and 3rd Avenue above where Bertha was boring on Dec. 14, 2016. (WSDOT)

Bertha has traveled 6,555 of 9,270 feet underneath Seattle, and crews have constructed 1,000 out of 1,426 rings. It is currently boring away in zone 8 out of 10 zones. What does this all add up to?

Bertha’s “finish line is now in sight.”

Bertha breaks into the Belltown neighborhood

That’s the message from the Washington State Department of Transportation, noting on Twitter that the view from the surface above Bertha is of Seattle’s Space Needle off in the distance.

With 2,715 feet to go, the new SR 99 tunnel is 70 percent complete. The Space Needle is near where the boring machine will emerge from the ground. It’s the first time the landmark can be witnessed during the journey.

Bertha is currently about 170 feet below Blanchard Street and Third Avenue (two weeks ago it was under Second and Lenora). In the next couple zones, the boring machine will be making a climb up toward the surface after descending much of the trip so far.

Bertha crews also celebrated installing the 1,000th ring in the tunnel on Tuesday. You can view a video of those rings and the process here. One crew member reportedly can install a ring in 40 minutes. It took him an hour and a half when the project started.

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