Highway 99 tunnel update: A few more feet, then too much heat

Another notable update this morning from WSDOT regarding the Highway 99 tunneling machine: It did go a few more feet this week – and then “above-normal temperature readings in part of the machinery” led to a decision to stop it, again. So now what? Says the update: “Over the next week, outside tunneling experts brought in by WSDOT will meet with the WSDOT and STP project teams to review the situation and determine the best path forward.”

17 Replies to "Highway 99 tunnel update: A few more feet, then too much heat"

  • Spur January 31, 2014 (12:14 pm)

    Unreal. What a mess. State gov should be held accountable.

  • redblack January 31, 2014 (12:45 pm)

    did we buy the extended service plan for bertha? or was it cost prohibitive at the time?
    believe me, i’ve been there. you think you’re buying a solid product, then six months later you’re kicking yourself for not springing for the warranty.

  • David January 31, 2014 (1:00 pm)

    Why? Why should the state gov be held accountable? This is the private sector at work. This is NOT government employees. The information for the work was provided and bid out to a private company (which had the location of the infamous “pipe” in the bidding documents). A private company is the builder of the machine. A private company is operating the machine. It’s not like some “evil state worker” is driving the Bertha, this “work” was bid to a private company and if they’re screwing up, it’s their fault. The company that applied to do the work, and won the bid, this PRIVATE company said they could do this. They claimed this was something they had the skill, engineering and employees to do…so blame them if they can’t do it.

  • David January 31, 2014 (1:08 pm)

    And tunneling can be done. We tunneled through Beacon Hill. Tunneled from West Lake to Capital Hill, and from there all the way to UW under Montlake Cut…no problems. Twice over actually (one tunnel in EACH direction). So it’s possible to do it right :) It may be that the contractor for the 99 tunnel just isn’t as capable (or just bad luck)…we’ll see.

  • WV January 31, 2014 (1:11 pm)

    This was an ill-conceived project from the start. Many of us voted against it – not because we obstruct “change” and “progress” – but because the geology of the surf and turf raised all sorts of concerns.

  • David January 31, 2014 (1:16 pm)

    We’ll have to see. Once they get past this little bit of lowland fill dirt, it may go as well as the light rail tunneling and turn out just fine. Won’t know for a bit.

  • wsn00b January 31, 2014 (2:46 pm)

    @David. There is a difference between someone responsible for doing work (and being accountable) and somebody not actually doing the work to be ultimately held accountable.


  • Seattlite January 31, 2014 (3:13 pm)

    David — I recall the tunnel being voted down twice. Christine signed on the dotted line for the tunnel option and at the same time burdened the WA taxpayers with looming tax increases. WA tax payers deserve better for their $ then what this cluster fudge has thus far delivered. The tunnel project started w/government doing as they wished so it’s their cross to bear. No more tax $ for this ill-conceived tunnel project.

  • Joe Szilagyi January 31, 2014 (3:41 pm)

    This is what we get for our crazy national obsession that government has to do everything ever cheaper, cheaper, cheaper, rather than better. You get what you paid for.

  • smokeycretin9 January 31, 2014 (3:54 pm)

    Hahahaha. i laugh now, but this only screws West Seattle in the long run.

    Time to secede! West Seattle Liberation Front unite !!!

  • Neighbor January 31, 2014 (4:17 pm)

    This project is billions of dollars. Follow the money and see who / which contractors and engineering consultants donated to legislators and other politicians. They had the $$$$s to push for this. This is hugely profitable to them.

  • SomeGuy January 31, 2014 (5:13 pm)

    Love it. Hoping the completion date gets pushed out to 2032 so I can hit retirement and avoid commuting through the tunnel altogether.

    Save the Viaduct!

  • Jason January 31, 2014 (5:32 pm)

    “…review the situation and determine the best path forward
    …or sideways.
    …or maybe backwards.

  • Danno January 31, 2014 (7:50 pm)

    Not to worry, we have the Monorail coming soon!?!?!?!

  • David January 31, 2014 (9:17 pm)

    For the $ 80,000,000 that we paid for the tunnel machine we could have hired a lot of guys with shovels and never had this problem. ( and yes I am aware that this would not work due to ground water issues )

  • redblack February 1, 2014 (8:30 am)

    david: did you know that amtrak and freight pass through a tunnel under downtown that was dug by hand?
    and they’re not entirely sure yet if bertha will undermine that tunnel.

  • David February 1, 2014 (8:59 am)

    @Redblack – yes I did know about the train tunnel – also most of the London Tube system was dug by hand including tunneling under the Thames river – sometimes I think that we are so in love with technology that we forget that there are other ways to get things done

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