Viaduct replacement tunnel opening delayed until August 2017

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SEATTLE — News of a 20-month delay in Seattle’s waterfront tunnel came Monday in an afternoon teleconference and on Big Bertha’s official Twitter account

Tunnel will open to traffic now in August 2017, long after the original December 2015 date and later than even the November 2016 target date announced when Bertha broke down.

The $2 billion tunnel project was halted last December when the huge boring machine got stuck about 1,000 feet in.

Since then there have been concerns about sinking soil, the viaduct sinking and cracks in some downtown streets.

Still all involved appear determined to push forward.

Here's what state Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said just last week:

"The governor and I are committed to this project. However, we cannot commit to a specific deadline.”

No specific deadline until repairs to Bertha are complete.

The delay means more noise, more vibration and more traffic but some say that's OK.

"We need this replacement for the (Alaskan Way) viaduct so even if it's a longer delay, yeah, it's disappointing but we have to deal with it. There are certain technical things that they have to get done and somebody's going to end up paying for it; thought and I hope it's not the taxpayer,” Seattle teacher Tom Davis said.

Tunnel contractors and state officials hope tunneling resumes sometime in April but there is no guarantee and they cannot say with certainty when the project will be complete until Bertha starts moving again.

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