Bad news Bertha overshadows successful sisters

Mar 18, 2015, 7:30 AM | Updated: 10:56 am
The second Northgate Link tunnel boring machine began its journey south in Nov. 2014. “Pamela...
The second Northgate Link tunnel boring machine began its journey south in Nov. 2014. "Pamela" is expected to reach daylight this summer. (Photo: Sound Transit)
(Photo: Sound Transit)

UPDATE: Seattle Tunnel Partners has informed the Washington State Department of Transportation that crews will not lift the first piece of the front shield on Bertha today. A WSDOT spokesperson says not to “read anything more into this other than STP is being careful and will perform the lift when they are ready.”

—Original story—

While crews begin repairing the world’s largest tunneling machine Wednesday, two other boring machines continue chugging along under Seattle’s streets.

You may not realize it because big Bertha has stolen the spotlight, for better or worse, but she has two little little sisters, Brenda and Pamela. The pair is working on Sound Transit’s light rail project between the U-District and Northgate.

Brenda and Pamela are much smaller, about 22 feet in diameter, as compared to Bertha’s 57 feet. They are working on a 1.5 mile stretch between the future Maple Leaf light rail station, located just south of Northgate, and the new Roosevelt station.

The tunnels and stations are part of the Northgate Link Extension that will connect to the U-District station. Service is expected to begin in 2021.

Brenda has been churning at about 100 feet a day since July 2014. The machine broke through the wall into the Roosevelt station on Tuesday. She will now take a much-needed break for maintenance before moving to the south end of the Roosevelt station to begin tunneling toward the U-District.

Pamela is digging a parallel tunnel from Maple Leaf to Roosevelt, which she is expected to reach this summer. She has been drilling since November.

As for Bertha, a giant crane assembled above a repair pit on the Seattle waterfront is expected to remove a part of the machine’s outer casing Wednesday. Two more pieces will need to be removed before crews can get to the cutter head to make repairs.

Drivers on nearby Highway 99 may notice a large frame, which is part of a canopy being set up to protect workers and machine parts from the elements during repairs.

Bertha is expected to resume tunneling in August. While boring for the Seattle waterfront tunnel is on hold, the Washington State Department of Transportation said the work was about 70 percent complete as of December 2014.

Local News

foster...
Kathryn Stone

Oregon kidnapping suspect taken into custody after standoff

Law enforcement officials were able to determine that Foster had been accessing dating applications on his phone.
1 day ago
Friends kitchen...
Micki Gamez

The Friends Experience pop-up opens in Seattle on Feb. 1

The FRIENDS Experience invites fans to step inside the world of the iconic series, relive their favorite moments, and celebrate the show.
1 day ago
dead road rage...
L.B. Gilbert

Greenwood road rage fight involved knife, baseball bat

Police are investigating a road rage incident involving a bat and a knife in a QFC parking lot in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.
1 day ago
The logo for OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, appears on a mobile phone, in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 31...
Associated Press

Cheaters beware: ChatGPT maker releases AI detection tool

ChatGPT is trying to curb its reputation as a freewheeling cheating machine with a new tool that can help detect if artificial intelligence wrote it
1 day ago
lake stevens...
L.B. Gilbert

Case dismissed against Lake Stevens HS employee accused of sexual misconduct

A Lake Stevens School District employee is under arrest after being suspected of improper sexual contact with at least one child.
1 day ago
bristol bay...
L.B. Gilbert

Bristol Bay salmon runs protected as EPA halts mine development

The EPA won a 12-year battle for a cleaner habitat by taking big steps to protect Bristol Bay salmon runs, the most productive in the world.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Bad news Bertha overshadows successful sisters