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Further inspection after the cutting head was removed and disassembled showed damage to the cutter head drive gears, so a new estimate of the repair time and cost was prepared. Mostly, that work involves connecting each end of that 1.7-mile tunnel, dug by the famously big and beleaguered Bertha, to the rest of the highway.  On January 6, 2016, Bertha broke through the concrete access vault and began digging through normal soil.  Test assembly and shakedown on Bertha in Japan indicated issues with the main-drive unit and tolerances that required repairs in February 2013. New Seattle Tunnel Opening Day Drive 02/04/2019 There's a snow storm today. Since then, construction crews have finished installing a â¦ ", "Bertha starts digging: tunneling underway in Seattle", "Bertha's excavation mission beginning under downtown", "State officials skeptical Bertha contractor can deliver on new deadline", "Bon voyage party for Bertha draws 5,000 to SR 99 tunnel site", "Bon Voyage, Big Bertha! Problems with the seal system appear to date back to the machine's initial testing in Japan, when the seal assembly was damaged and required repairs. "A study came up with two main possibilities: tolls ranging from $1 to $2.50 at peak times -- which would raise the $200 million as required by state law -- and a second option kept trips closer to $1 to $1.25 at peak times.A final decision has not yet been made.  After a month's investigation, WSDOT announced that the machine's cutting blades had encountered an 8-inch-diameter (20 cm), 119-foot-long (36 m) steel pipe, one of several well casings left over from a previous 2002 drilling project that had assessed groundwater conditions and soil stability in the area in case of another earthquake, such as the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, which led to a need for the replacing of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in the first place. That leaves crews to finish installing and testing the $3.2 billion tunnel's advanced operational and safety systems.So when will the tunnel open? The tunneling machine known as Bertha began tunneling beneath Seattle in July 2013 (photo at right: the machine's cutterhead being lowered into the launch pit near Seattle's stadiums). Seattle used Bertha, the tunnel boring machine, to create the Highway 99 tunnel.  Following a month of maintenance and inspections, Bertha resumed tunneling on Friday, April 29, 2016, and crossed 15 feet (4.6 m) under the closed viaduct in an 11-day closure in early May that ended earlier than scheduled. But once the new State Route 99 is open, the traffic will back up - in court. , The machine began excavation of the 1.7-mile-long (2.7 km) route on July 30, 2013, with completion of the bore scheduled in 14 months' time and the tunnel opening to traffic in December 2015. When will the tunnel open and what happens to the viaduct? Over 5,000 members of the public, along with Governor Jay Inslee, were present for the machine's dedication a week prior to the beginning of excavation. Bertha, the tunnel boring machine designed for the project, broke down little more than 1,000 feet into the project and didn't get up and running again until near the end of 2015. The SR 99 Tunnel is expected to open â¦ The name Bertha, after Seattle's first female mayor, Bertha Knight Landes, was chosen by a panel (that included the Governor and Transportation Secretary) from 150 submissions from kindergarten through 12th graders, who were asked to submit female names with Washington state heritage. Bertha was a 17.5 m diameter tunnel boring machine built specifically for the Washington State Department of Transportationâs (WSDOT) Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project in Seattle.It was made by Hitachi Zosen Sakai Works in Osaka, Japan, and the machineâs assembly was completed in Seattle in June 2013. , Bertha's digging route was divided into 10 zones, representing different types of soil or progress under city landmarks. Inslee halts Bertha work after sinkhole forms near project", "She's ba-ack! Tunnel boring was completed on April 4, 2017, with Berthaâs cutter head breaking into a disassembly vault at the tunnelâs north portal in South Lake Union. , On May 18, 2015, WSDOT reported to the Seattle City Council that the damage to the bearing and seals was worse than had been previously reported.  Digging was halted once again on January 12, 2016, after a barge carrying excavated dirt tipped over in Elliott Bay, spilling its load and damaging a dock at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 46. The viaduct will be permanently closed, and it will take a few weeks before the tunnel will open to traffic.Demolition of the viaduct will begin some time after the tunnel opens to traffic.That paves the way for the Seattle Department of Transportation to build a new Alaskan Way along the downtown waterfront. Tunnel boring began on July 30, 2013, with the machine originally scheduled to complete the tunnel in December 2015. Governor Jay Inslee halted all work on the tunnel on January 14, 2016, citing concern over public safety after the sinkhole incident. State transportation officials begin discussing what tolls will be implemented once the tunnel is opened. Both tunnels were delayed and over-budget, but the numbers â¦ The breakdown of the giant drill named Bertha meant the tunnel did not open until last February, and contractors and the state are now fighting in court over the cost of repairs and delays.  By March 14, Bertha had finished its 300-foot (91 m) bore to a "safe haven" located ahead of the Alaskan Way Viaduct; allowing WSDOT and STP to prepare for a two-week closure of the viaduct in late April as the machine passed under the vulnerable structure while closely monitored. Bertha broke through into the disassembly pit on April 4, 2017, and shortly thereafter built the tunnelâs final ring. Itâs a far cry from its original estimated opening â¦ No problem? , Bertha was designed and manufactured by Hitachi Zosen Sakai Works of Osaka, Japan, and is the world's largest earth pressure balance tunnel boring machine, at a cutterhead diameter of 57.5 feet (17.5 m) across. , By December 6, 2013, Bertha had tunneled 1,019 ft (311 m), or 11%, of the total 9,270 ft (2,830 m) length of the tunnel, stopping about 60 ft (18 m) below ground between South Jackson Street and South Main Street. However, subsequent investigations revealed that portions of the main bearing seal system were damaged, which caused the bearing to overheat during operation. , Some media have also referred to the machine as "Big Bertha". The use of Bertha, considered state of the art, was promoted by WSDOT as a way to monitor the project.  The winning entry, which was submitted by two elementary schools in Poulsbo and Hoquiam, was selected in December 2012. How much will tolls cost?   Bertha was shipped to the Port of Seattle in 41 sections, arriving on April 2, 2013. , By September 30, 2016, Bertha had tunneled 4,635 feet (1,413 m), surpassing the halfway mark of the planned 9,270-foot (2,830 m) distance. The tunnel opened Feb. 4, 2019, and carries 80,000 vehicles per day.  The same day, a sinkhole formed within the tunnel's work zone approximately 35 feet (11 m) north of the access pit; the hole was filled with 250 cubic yards (190 m3) of concrete by contractors the following day and was not expected by WSDOT to delay the resumption of digging later in the week. , In January 2015, two Republican state senators introduced a bill in the Washington State Legislature to kill the project, citing Bertha and its delay in particular.  Before excavation of the tunnel could resume, WSDOT requested that the contractors, Seattle Tunnel Partners, complete and deliver an analysis of what caused the January 12 sinkhole and what modifications to tunneling operations could be made to prevent further ground-level problems. Like a character in a sci-fi flick, the massive drill was also followed through the gloomy tunnel by a Bertha Cam, viewable on the Web, and the state gave the machine a Twitter feed, @BerthaDigsSR99. ", "March 9 project update: New 360-degree video takes you inside the tunnel as Bertha enters Zone 10", "Seattle tunnel tops U.S. green group's 'boondoggle' list", "Seattle's unbelievable transportation megaproject fustercluck", "Bertha: Off the hook in the Legislature but not out of mind", The World's Largest EPB Shield Tunneling Machine, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bertha_(tunnel_boring_machine)&oldid=991208724, Articles containing potentially dated statements from December 2016, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 28 November 2020, at 21:37. The machine's parts were not reusable and were scrapped. The pipes' locations were known to WSDOT and the agency thought they had been removed, while STP admitted in a 2019 lawsuit that they had knowledge of the pipe prior to excavation. Bertha resumed tunnel boring on December 22, 2015, but was stopped in early January 2016 after a tethered barge in Elliott Bay damaged nearby piers and a sinkhole opened near the project site. Yes, Bertha's on the move once again", "Tunnel machine Bertha moves 300 feet, reaches 'safe haven, "Viaduct closure coming once Bertha's ready to dig", "Viaduct closure ends, Bertha to make pit stop", "June 13 project update: Bertha passes the half-mile mark", "Bertha restarts early — with 33 new teeth (out of 750)", "New tunnel? They will use the results from the investment-grade study as a baseline for their work. The tunnel opened to State Route 99 traffic on Feb. 4, following a weekend grand opening celebration, where the public had an opportunity to walk through the tunnel and learn more about the plans for Waterfront Seattle, a public park that will be developed along the site of the viaduct.  As of December 15, 2016,[update] the tunnel length reached 70% completion. She's now in Zone 4 of the tunnel drive", "Bertha is now in Zone 5 of the tunnel drive", "Monday tunneling update: Bertha has reached zone 6", "Bertha is past Stewart St. & the 1-mile mark", "#BalloonsOverBertha at 2nd/Lenora. But a post-Bertha Seattle doesnât mean the job is finished for the tunnel project.  Tunnel boring was completed on April 4, 2017, with Bertha's cutterhead breaking into a disassembly vault at the tunnel's north portal in South Lake Union.. , Digging resumed on February 23, after a WSDOT review determined that new soil monitoring practices were sufficient, allowing the machine conditional permission to bore through 160 feet (49 m) of material and finish the initial testing phase of the machine.  Seattle Tunnel Partners is a joint venture of New York-based Dragados USA, a wholly owned Front of a model of Bertha at Milepost 31, the tunnel project information center Walls of tunnel in place in January 2017, about two years before the 2019 opening date. , The two-year stoppage of Bertha has been criticized as an example of a political boondoggle by opponents.  Practically none of Bertha's components were reusable, and most of its steel was melted and recycled. In August 2015, a consortium of eight insurers filed a lawsuit against STP in order to avoid a $143 million payout to cover the cost of repairs to the boring machine. SEATTLE -- Bertha finished boring the path for a new tunnel under Seattle nearly one year ago.Since then, construction crews have finished installing a double-deck highway end-to-end inside the tunnel. And what happens to the Alaskan Way Viaduct? Bertha was a 57.5-foot-diameter (17.5 m) tunnel boring machine built specifically for the Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project in Seattle, Washington, United States. The safety systems will make the SR 99 tunnel one of the smartest tunnels ever built, including: The project is about two years behind schedule after Bertha's main bearing was damaged in December of 2013 -- only about 10 percent of the tunnel had been bored.Seattle Tunnel Partners and Bertha's manufacturer Hitachi Zosen came up with a plan to lift four million pounds of machinery up through a hole in the ground to repair the cutter head.Two years later, STP resumed tunneling and completed boring the tunnel.  The front end of the machine, including the damaged cutter head, was successfully lifted onto the surface on the morning of March 31, 2015. The tunnel opened to traffic in both directions just around midnight the morning of Monday, February 4. After the tunnel is finished, crews will close the Alaskan Way Viaduct for several weeks to realign the highway to the tunnel. The machine was 326 feet (99 m) long and weighed 6,700 short tons (6,100 t).  However, Hitachi Zosen general manager Soichi Takaura later stated that "there was nothing wrong with the seals in the original machine", noting that Bertha appeared to function properly before striking the well casing.  The final, disassembled pieces of Bertha were removed from the tunnel portal in August 2017.  The machine itself cost $80 million and is owned by Seattle Tunnel Partners, the project contractors. An abbreviated history of Bertha: July 2013: Began tunneling; April 2017: Tunneling breakthrough; August 2017: Final piece of dismantled machine removed . Now past 6,000 ft., Bertha digs into Belltown and Zone 8 of the tunnel drive", "Yesterday's progress update: Bertha has reached Zone 9 of the tunnel drive! A requirement of the Request for Proposal was that the project be substantially completed by November 2016, and that an open tunnel be created by December 2015, WSDOT said. The completed tunnel opened to traffic on Feb. 4, 2019 following a weekend grand opening celebration where the public had an opportunity to walk through the tunnel and learn more about the cityâs plans for the waterfrontâa section of the city that had long been cut off from the rest of the city by the unwieldy and noisy viaduct. On December 6, 2013, work was halted approximately 1,083 feet (330 m) into the planned 9,270-foot-long (2,830 m) route because of an unexpected impediment. Digging briefly resumed on February 23, but was halted again for maintenance and inspections before resuming full operations on April 29. Initially, it was thought that the machine had damaged several of its cutting blades after encountering a steel pipe that was used to measure groundwater in 2002 around the Alaskan Way Viaduct. 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