WSDOT: No guarantee Seattle tunnel project will be completed

Apr 29, 2014, 1:26 PM | Updated: Apr 30, 2014, 7:28 am
In an exclusive interview, the Washington Secretary of Transportation tells KIRO Radio’s Dori...
In an exclusive interview, the Washington Secretary of Transportation tells KIRO Radio's Dori Monson she can't guarantee project will be finished. (WSDOT image)
(WSDOT image)
LISTEN:

Digging on the Seattle tunnel project is at a standstill and will be until March of 2015, but now Washington State Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson has told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson in an exclusive interview that she can’t guarantee the project will ever be finished.

When Monson asked if she could say 100 percent that the project would be completed, Peterson said:

“No. I’m going to be skeptical about it, right. I think we’re going to remain skeptical until we get more information. We still have incomplete information from our contractor.”

Monson asked under what circumstances Peterson would shut down the project. She said in the case that the machine is not actually fixable.

“Is that still a possibility?” Monson asked.

“I’d say it’s a small possibility,” said Peterson. “But we want to make sure that everybody understands it’s a possibility.”

Bertha has been stalled since December. WSDOT released a timeline from Seattle Tunnel Partners last week indicating the tunnel boring machine would likely not be up and running again until late March of 2015. In the meantime, they will be digging a pit to access and repair the machine.

But regardless of the Bertha delay, Peterson said pursuing another option could be more costly. “Since the decision was made, at this point, the least cost is to get this project done.”

“There would be a lot of rework that would have to go on to actually make whatever plan B, plan C, or plan D, whatever we would come up with to connect and reconnect, and then we would probably have a lot more debate about how to pay for all of that,” said Peterson.

Recent reports indicated Seattle Tunnel Partners was asking for an additional $190 million, but Peterson said most of that has been rejected.

“What we have is $188 million of proposed change orders by the contractor of which $157 million of that we have already denied.”

While she won’t guarantee Washington residents won’t see any cost overruns, she said the project hasn’t used up the contingency funds.

“The only case the taxpayers would be paying for a cost overrun is if we go through our contingency money, and we have not done that yet. We have a pot of money set aside for things that are unforeseen and that right now is at $170 million plus or minus a couple million.

“So what we’re looking at is we still have enough contingency to deal with the things that we believe will be coming up. But for the major issue here, the fact that Bertha is stopped and it’s a mechanical failure of some sort, that is on the contractor.”

Related:
Documents: Seattle tunnel contractor wants $190M more
A Bertha timeline: From conception to today
Bertha to remain stalled until next March

Correction: An earlier version of this report erroneously suggested that WSDOT’s Lynn Peterson said that an alternative to the tunnel might be a wiser option.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Inslee Phase 2...
Dori Monson Show

Mayor of Winlock says Gov. Inslee should ‘submit himself to medical review’

The mayor of Winlock passed a proclamation saying he believes Gov. Inslee requires professional medical intervention for narcissistic personality disorder.
5 days ago
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta...
Dori Monson Show

State Senator disagrees with making insurance rates a ‘zero sum game’

State Senator Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) explains why he's pushing back against Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler's emergency rule.
5 days ago
teen hit and run...
Dori Monson Show

‘We are a country of laws’: Councilmember echoes calls to prosecute teen hit-and-run suspect as adult

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is calling for the teen suspect of an alleged series of hit and run incidents to be tried in adult court.
6 days ago
class, quarantine...
Dori Monson Show

Federal Way mom says school district is unprepared for class to quarantine

A mom in Federal Way says her son's entire class has to be in quarantine after one kid tested positive for COVID, and there's no remote learning option.
8 days ago
Stolen truck, Everett...
Dori Monson Show

Stolen truck found, returned to 83-year-old Everett man

An 83-year-old Everett-area man is looking for his mint condition 1997 F-250 truck, after it was stolen out of his driveway earlier this week.
11 days ago
Tahoma High School...
Dori Monson Show

Student says fight at Tahoma school wasn’t racially motivated

A Tahoma High School student involved in a fight witnesses say included racial slurs is claiming that race was not a factor in the incident.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

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

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
...
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
WSDOT: No guarantee Seattle tunnel project will be completed