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WSDO Shuts Down Bertha

wa.dot.gov

More delay for the massive bridge tunnel project in downtown Seattle.  “Bertha,” the worlds largest tunneling machine has been temporarily shut down. The Washington State Transportation Department says the contracting team trying to dig the tunnel says it will take months to fix broken seals

The Transportation Department said Seattle Tunnel Partners is working with the machine’s manufacturer to determine how best to fix the broken seals surrounding the main bearing of the machine.  It’s 60 feet underground. They’re looking at accessing the area through the back of the machine or by drilling an access shaft in front of it. Transportation officials say either way, “this process will take months.”

The machine has been mostly idle for two months.

The Transportation Department says so far the contractors “have not shown any evidence that suggests the state or taxpayers will be responsible for cost overruns associated with these repairs. ”

Building the tunnel is expected to allow the removal of the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct.

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