Bertha has tunneled 292 feet since Seattle’s viaduct closed

May 2, 2016, 9:34 AM | Updated: May 8, 2016, 8:10 am

Above, drone footage from the inside of the Seattle tunnel.

Sunday UPDATE: Bertha has bored 78 feet since Friday morning and she continues to make her way under the viaduct. The Washington State Department of Transportation reports crews have now installed 44 rings and excavated 292 feet since the machine began to move from its planned maintenance site. Bertha is less than 100 feet away from her current goal, and the reopening of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

11 a.m. Friday UPDATE: Crews have excavated 214 feet and installed a total of 32 rings.

4 a.m. Friday UPDATE: Bertha has now bored 208 feet of the 385 feet needed to reopen the viaduct.

8 p.m. Thursday UPDATE: Crews have excavated 195 feet. They have about 190 more before the viaduct can reopen to traffic.

4 a.m., Thursday UPDATE: Crews have installed 26 rings and excavated 175 feet of the approximate 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct can reopen.

7:30 p.m., Wednesday UPDATE: Bertha and crews have excavated 162.5 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens to traffic, WSDOT reports. The contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, has installed 25 rings since mining resumed last week.

11 a.m., Wednesday UPDATE: Tunneling has stopped as crews do maintenance on Bertha. Crews have installed 22 rings since mining resumed last week. A total of 149 feet of tunnel has been excavated since Bertha began moving under the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

4 a.m., Wednesday UPDATE: Bertha has tunneled 148 of the approximate 385 feet needed in order for the state to reopen the viaduct.

8 p.m. UPDATE: A total of 20 rings have now been installed in the tunnel as Bertha moves underneath the viaduct. That amounts to a distance of 131 feet out of the 385 feet the machine has to travel to be clear of the road.

11 a.m. UPDATE Crews have now excavated 117 feet of the approximate 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the state can reopen the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

4 a.m., Tuesday UPDATE As of early Tuesday morning, contractors have installed 16 tunnel rings since Bertha resumed mining last week. Crews have excavated 106 feet of the approximate 385 feet of tunnel that must be finished to re-open the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

9:00 p.m. Monday UPDATE: WSDOT reported Monday night that Bertha had tunneled 91 feet – 24 percent of its 385 feet it needs to tunnel before the Alaskan Way Viaduct can reopen to traffic.

UPDATE: Bertha is continuing its steady pace under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. As of 11:24 a.m., the boring machine had moved 78 feet total since it restarted on Friday. Bertha must create approximately 385 feet of tunnel before the viaduct can reopen to traffic. The Washington State Department of Transportation said 11 of the 59 concrete rings have been built.


ORIGINAL STORY: After four days of digging, Bertha is approximately 16 percent of the way toward its goal.

Travis Phelps, with the Washington State Department of Transportation, says Bertha, the boring machine, has tunneled about 60 feet as of Monday morning since it restarted around 9 a.m. Friday.

The most recent update is about 21 feet farther than what was released Sunday afternoon. Officials have estimated Alaskan Way Viaduct will be closed for two weeks, as Bertha must create approximately 385 feet of tunnel before the viaduct can reopen to traffic. But before you start calculating those numbers for an end date, remember that Seattle Tunnel Partners determines the appropriate rate to mine safely, and mining rates will vary as the machine passes underneath the viaduct.

Related: WSDOT warns viaduct closure will cause more challenging commutes

In the meantime, there are 12 incident response teams standing by for collisions and at least 20 police officers at key intersections in downtown to manage traffic. All of that is to try to make commutes as smooth as possible on days four and beyond of the viaduct closure.

Phelps says he’s hoping drivers keep doing their part.

“We hope to see some of that diversion that we need, having those people take carpools, vanpools, buses; change their schedules if they can,” he said. “Hopefully, we see the big congestion, the real bad congestion just not show its head today.”

Initial patterns from Friday and Monday show congestion starting approximately 30-40 minutes earlier than usual, Phelps said, with pockets of congestion in the downtown core post morning commute. This is also true with evening commutes, which Phelps says will start around 2 p.m. and last until about 8 p.m.

“We also expect traffic to peak and be a little more intense than it normally is and that’s because the viaduct carries 90,000 cars,” he said. “It’s out of commission right now; we don’t have space for 90,000 cars on our current highway system or our street-grid system for a morning rush.”

Live updates on the viaduct closure

KIRO Radio reporter Jillian Raftery contributed to this story.

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Bertha has tunneled 292 feet since Seattle’s viaduct closed