TBM Bertha, used for opening the tunnel in the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project is on the move again, after major overheating problems that caused the machine to remain still for more than a year. The machine is expected to reach an access pit so that crews can perform necessary repairs.
Developers Wright Runstand & Company released drawings yesterday of a new building that will be built in Rainier Square in Seattle, Washington. The 58-story tower will include residential, office, restaurant, and retail space. The developers hope to break ground later next year and complete the tower by 2017. Once completed, the tower will become Seattle’s second tallest skyscraper.
This Sunday the Seattle Seahawks will host the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. Many believe Seattle has one of the best home field advantage’s in the NFL due to the amount of noise their fans create. While it is not one of the largest stadiums in the NFL, Seattle’s CenturyLink Field is certainly the loudest. This weekend, representatives from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network will be studying the stadium for earthquake research. They plan on placing three seismometers around the stadium including one near the top of the stadium and one near the ground.
Completion of the new Highway 99 tunnel, originally planned for late 2015, has been delayed even further, possibly until 2019. It is now estimated that the project will be over budget by $223 million. Unfortunately, it may be the taxpayers who end up paying the cost through Washington state's gas tax, tolls, and increased debt of the state transportation fund.
When finished, the tunnel will stretch 1.7 miles and span 4 lanes of traffic. It is being built to replace the outdated viaduct which could be seriously compromised in the event of seismic activity. The total estimated cost of the project has now reached $3.374 billion.
The tunnel is being excavated using Bertha, a 57-foot diameter tunnel boring machine. A large portion of the delay was caused by Bertha breaking down approximately one third of the way through the boring distance. The machine sat idle for over two years as workers had to excavate down near Pioneer Square to repair it after a major malfunction. The prime contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), blames an 8-inch steel pipe left over from state groundwater testing for the breakdown, however the state believes this is unlikely. Now that it has been repaired, Bertha is tunneling at a rate of 40 feet per day.
It was April 4, 2017, when the work of tunneling machine Bertha was complete, breaking through into her disassembly pit and marking the end of the 1.75-mile long State Route 99 (SR 99) tunnel beneath Seattle. Now, the Washington State Department of Transportation released a drone video that shows the ongoing construction work from end-to-end inside the tunnel.