Tunnel-drilling Bertha to start moving again this week

The Seattle TimesJanuary 28, 2014 

Tunnel-machine Bertha is supposed to get moving again this week.

After a nearly eight-week stoppage, Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) intends to resume digging — for two feet — later this week, then give the tunnel-boring machine a checkup, the state announced Monday night.

Another two feet of progress would allow workers to fasten the next 6½-foot-wide concrete ring of the new Highway 99 tube, at the rear of the machine. The machine moves forward by pushing off each ring, using 56 hydraulic thrusters.

Basically, there weren’t any major obstacles found in the soil, or inside the huge rotating cutter, during 10 days of inspections, said Matt Preedy, deputy project administrator for the state Department of Transportation (DOT).

Previously, DOT questioned how its contractors were running the giant drill, and demanded answers as to why Bertha operated at high temperature in early December.

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