Bertha heads underground for Seattle tunnel project
May 31, 2013, 1:38 PM | Updated: 2:35 pm
Work continues on the massive drilling machine that will begin digging the new tunnel beneath downtown Seattle, as crews lowered the 838-ton cutterhead into the SR 99 tunneling machine’s launch pit Friday.
WSDOT says the machine, affectionately dubbed Bertha, now has all of its biggest pieces in place. Crews will begin welding pieces together, connecting wires and hoses, and testing the machine prior to its launch in summer 2013.
In addition to assembling and testing the machine, crews are getting the area near the launch pit ready for tunneling.
Once Bertha gets underway, the machine will slowly head north beneath the city before emerging two miles away near the Battery Street Tunnel.
The tunnel is scheduled to open in 2015.