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tunnel WSDOT
There is yet another delay for the Seattle tunnel project in the repair timeline. KIRO Radio's Dori Monson doesn't think the tunnel will ever be built. (WSDOT image)

Dori Monson: We need a leader to save us from Seattle tunnel big dig nightmare

Taken from Tuesday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.

We're hearing this week there is yet another delay for the Seattle tunnel. This is something that affects everybody who is listening because everybody in the state is going to be on the hook for this thing.

On Monday, we got an update on the delay, and according to Chris Dixon, the project manager for Seattle Tunnel Partners, it's going to be another month before they can even start this repair.

"Originally, we were going to finish the secant piles by the end of July. Now, they're going to finish next month and that puts us about one month later."

When they first released the extensive drawings and schematics for the repair plans, I said the complexity of the plans made me even more confident that my billion-dollar overrun estimate is conservative.

Now, I am just a dumb guy from Ballard with zero engineering and zero geology background, so how is it that here on this show we were able to say there is no way they're going to be able to make these repairs on the timetable they've proposed? It was just such an obviously massive job. How is it that the gut from a dumb guy from Ballard at a glance was more accurate than the people running this program?

I really don't understand how with all the experts, all the engineers, all the technology, all the computer modeling, how they are so consistently wrong on everything they do with this project.

Let me also refer you to something we exclusively broke on this show a few months ago. We went undercover and had reporters follow four guys, four higher-ups in the Seattle tunnel project, who were several times a week taking an hour-and-a-half out of their days to go to the driving range at Interbay Golf Course.

After we busted them on the air, amazingly they went back to Interbay in the same vehicles, but they had removed the Seattle Tunnel Partners logo so they could continue golfing on a regular basis.

There were a lot of people who said Monson, you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel now, who cares if they go golfing on their lunch break. What I said was if they're telling us that getting this tunnel built on time and on budget has been a top priority, you don't have an extra couple of hours a day to go golfing.

I don't take hour and half lunch breaks. I don't have time to do that. And if you're managing a multi-billion dollar project that has been a disaster, you don't have time to go golfing three, four days a week. Golfing was apparently more important to them than serving the public.

Todd Trepanier, with the Washington State Department of Transportation, says apparently this one month delay doesn't mean they're off schedule to begin digging again in March.

"That has increased our concern in their ability to be able to resume mining at the end of March, but we look to STP to give us updated schedules. They're communicating to us just as you've heard them communicate to you of the March date still being good from their standpoint from what they know."

Explain to me how if the repairs right now are a month behind schedule, you still meet a deadline that is seven months away on time? We are being sold a bill of goods here gang.

We need a leader, we need Jay Inslee, Ed Murray, Lynn Peterson, somebody to say, look we blew a couple billion dollars, this thing is not going to be built, it's an impossibility, we're going to cut our losses, we're going to save the taxpayers money.

We need a leader to save us from what is coming. And what is coming is a big dig multi-billion dollar overrun, that'll be multiple years behind schedule, and in the end, I don't think the tunnel is ever going to get built.

This is going to end up costing every single one of us who lives in this state thousands, maybe tens of thousands of dollars. They are stealing this money from us and nobody besides this show is willing to sound that alarm. We need a leader who is going to prioritize you and me above the big developers, the labor unions, and those who might profit off this, but they refuse to do that.

Taken from Tuesday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.

Related:
Dori Monson: How to resolve strife in Middle East and get a Seattle tunnel built With Bertha at a standstill, project managers find time to practice their golf swings
Dori Monson: With elaborate Bertha repair plan, a billion in overruns is conservative

JS

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