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Seattle Tunnel Partners face sanctions in Bertha lawsuit

Bertha has continued to cause controversy long after being decommissioned. (WSDOT)

Thurston County Judge Carol Murphy released a ruling Monday, saying that Seattle Tunnel Partners will face sanctions in a lawsuit regarding cost overruns in the SR 99 tunnel project.

RELATED: A full timeline of the Bertha tunnel project

According to a report from The Seattle Times, the sanctions against STP are related to not properly preserving pieces of pipe and granite boulders.

Bertha, the giant tunneling machine, struck an underground pipe back in 2013 — originally put in place by the Washington Department of Transportation. STP claimed that pipe broke Bertha. The state disagreed.

Pieces of pipe and boulders were supposed to be saved as evidence in the $624 million lawsuit. Those — along with the journal of deputy project manager Greg Hauser — disappeared.

“By its actions and inactions, STP consciously disregarded the importance of the missing pipe pieces and boulders in failing to preserve them,” Judge Murphy said in her findings. “The loss or destruction of the missing pipe pieces and boulders is not innocent or accidental.”

The ruling goes on to note that STP “consciously disregarded the importance” of the pipe fragments and boulders.

The exact specifics of sanctions against STP have yet to be decided.

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