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

catalytic converter...
MyNorthwest Staff

Competing proposals for catalytic converter theft crackdown up for Thursday vote

Competing proposals from Democrats and Republicans to crack down on catalytic converter thefts are set for Thursday, Jan. 27. committee votes.
1 day ago
Redistricting, long term care tax delay...
MyNorthwest Staff

Long-term care tax delay inches closer to passage after approval from state Senate

The Washington State Senate voted to delay implementation of the new long-term care payroll tax on Wednesday. 
1 day ago
Rideshare companies...
Nick Bowman

Rideshare companies pour millions into PAC ahead of push for Washington ballot initiative

Rideshare companies have poured over $2 million into a new PAC, in what appears to be the precursor for a Washington ballot initiative. 
1 day ago
KIRO 7 News Staff

Earthquake early warning app now available in Washington

Washington residents can now download MyShake, an earthquake early warning app, and get extra seconds of warning.
1 day ago
KIRO 7 News Staff

Suspect arrested in Pierce County hit-and-run that killed one 12-year-old girl, injured another

A Pierce County SWAT team has arrested a 32-year-old man believed to be responsible for a hit-and-run collision that killed one 12-year-old girl.
1 day ago
Bills, pickleball...
Nick Bowman

Pickleball, dinosaurs, and a state nickname: Lawmakers weigh trio of lighthearted bills

Among the bills under consideration during the 2022 legislative session are a handful of more lighthearted proposals from lawmakers.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Bad news Bertha overshadows successful sisters