Bertha tunneling machine starts slow dig toward access pit for repairs
SEATTLE (AP) — Bertha is on the move. Slowly, but on the move.
The broken down tunnel machine began its journey toward an access pit where, if it makes it, workers will remove the front of the machine for repairs. It started moving at 7 a.m. on Wednesday and by the afternoon it had moved 6 feet. Bertha must travel another 14 feet to reach the pit. It must tunnel through the pit’s 20-foot concrete wall.
Seattle Tunnel Partners says it does not know how long the process will take. If the machine gets too hot, they will shut it down to cool before resuming.
Bertha only made it about 1,000 feet in its 2-mile trip to build a tunnel as part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project. It overheated and stopped working in December 2013.