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Dori Monson

Prediction: The Seattle tunnel project will only get worse

The Seattle tunnel project was delayed once by picketing Longshoremen trying to get jobs hauling dirt, and now poor Big Bertha has been delayed yet again; this time by fiberglass that she just can't cut through. (Image courtesy WSDOT)

Taken from the Thursday edition of the Dori Monson Show.

Remember when I put my job on the line a few years ago when they said they were going to tunnel under Seattle? I said, if it comes in on time, on budget, I would quit my job? And the Secretary of Transportation said, Oh, that’s incentive for us to come in on time and on budget.

Well, it looks like my job is pretty safe. They’ve revealed that that boring machine, Big Bertha, is supposed to go 35 feet a day. It’s been at work for weeks now and it’s gone a total, in those weeks, of 24 feet. After a month.

And they said, Well, we didn’t know that we would run into those fiberglass strands and they clogged up the blades.

It’s a multi-billion dollar project, and one of the biggest tunneling endeavors the country has taken on. So how is it that they didn’t know what they were digging through? They said that some concrete that they had to go through, instead of bring reinforced with re-bar, had been reinforced with fiberglass strands, and that clogged the blade.

Don’t they have city planning records? Why didn’t they just say, ‘Hey, just keep in mind this is going to be a slow period because your blade can’t cut through this stuff.’ Wait until they hit the Indian burial ground under the Columbia Tower or something like that. That’s when things are really going to slow down.

The other delay is, the Longshoremen are picketing, and they won’t let the dirt haulers work because the Longshoremen say they want those jobs. So they’re picketing down there.

“It’s preservation of traditional Longshoreman work. Somebody has to load that material to the barges, and we’ve done that for over 80 years in the Port of Seattle,” Cam Williams, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19 President, told KING 5 News.

And the tunnel project people found cheaper dirt haulers than the Longshoremen but the Longshoremen said, Ok. You don’t give us the work, we don’t let you dig.

So this project is already looking like it could be a debacle – as predicted right here on The Big Show.


Longshoremen picketing for jobs at Seattle tunnel site
Longshoremen say it’s not a threat, but tunnel project may force work stoppage at port
John Curley: No one should be shocked Bertha is behind schedule on tunnel


Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

About the Author

Dori Monson

Dori Monson is host of The Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio (weekdays Noon-3) and the pre-game and post-game host for the Seattle Seahawks Radio Network. There are three words that Dori thinks best describe him - competitive, competitive and competitive.


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