Ship carrying ‘Bertha’ the tunnel machine sets sail for Seattle

Bertha sets sail – SR 99 tunneling machine heads for Seattle

In less than two weeks, it’ll be quite a spectacle along West Seattle (and other) shores, so you might as well get ready now. The ship above, the Jumbo Fairpartner, set sail hours ago from Osaka, Japan, carrying “Bertha,” the Highway 99 tunnel-boring machine. WSDOT says it’ll arrive around April 1st – no foolin’! The machine is in 41 pieces as it begins its 5,000-mile journey across the Pacific, bound for Terminal 46 on the downtown waterfront, where it will be unloaded and reassembled before it starts heading north from the launch pit just south of where what’s left of the Alaskan Way Viaduct ends. WSDOT is already tweeting about the trip at @BerthaDigsSR99.

16 Replies to "Ship carrying 'Bertha' the tunnel machine sets sail for Seattle"

  • MetPatrick March 19, 2013 (4:28 pm)

    SBX was cool but this TBM ( world’s largest )) will be AWESOME to see. I can’t wait.

  • Peter on Fauntleroy March 19, 2013 (5:20 pm)

    Building new highways is one of the worst thing we as a society can do environmentally … And yet, I can’t wait to see this thing! It’ll be quite impressive.

  • TuckTheFunnel March 19, 2013 (6:00 pm)

    I, for one (of many no doubt), rue the day Bertha comes to Seattle’s shore. This puts us one step closer to digging a tunnel that Seattle citizens voted against (while the rest of the county & state had no say). I am saddend to know we are continueing to move forward on, what will surely prove to be, the most expensive mistakes this city ever (dis)approved. #tuckthefunnel

  • Kip March 19, 2013 (6:25 pm)

    Impressive, yes. Just hope it doesn’t trigger “The Big One” ;)

  • anti-obstruction March 19, 2013 (6:25 pm)

    Very clever, me likey!
    Additionally, every word of your comment is accurate.
    Future dictionaries will have a picture of Seattle’s tunnel under the word “boondoggle”.

  • wetone March 19, 2013 (7:12 pm)

    Can’t wait for the ground to liquefy from the vibrations of this machine and watch downtown sink into the ground. Sure won’t be good for the 75yr old water and sewer lines.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  • Rvesdocs March 19, 2013 (8:51 pm)

    It’s a rather ominous looking machine arriving on a truly gargantuan tug of sorts…

  • Won't pay toll to bypass city March 19, 2013 (8:56 pm)

    Tuck TheFunnel & wetone,
    You both took the words I was going to use.
    Hopefully when downtown sinks, we can put a RIP on Bertha grave.

  • eric1 March 19, 2013 (9:14 pm)

    I always wondered who voted to trade in a viaduct that might fall down for a tunnel that will probably flood in the next “big one”.
    But somebody is getting a nice view out of it and they got us to pay for it.

  • D-mom March 19, 2013 (10:02 pm)

    TuckTheFunnel – Love the name and totally agree with your comments. I get pissed off at this project every time I sit on the now defunct viaduct. But seriously, I just had to reply so I could say TuckTheFunnel again.

  • wscommuter March 20, 2013 (10:47 am)

    Sigh … more whining about the tunnel.

    At some point, one might accept that its happening. And here’s the thing – its a good thing … when this project is done, we’ll have better commutes (yes – I said that) and reclaim our waterfront.

  • boy March 20, 2013 (11:11 am)

    It is to bad that the tax payers money was spent to build this thing in japan. You would think that one of the requirements would be to use our tax dollar would mean built in America. So far japan is making the big bucks. Don’t forget this tunnel is alredy 400 million over buget. Can we all say together BIG DIG IN BOSTON.

  • NotallTunnelsarebad March 21, 2013 (8:31 am)

    Unfortunately there is no US firm that can build these TBMs. As for tunnels, remember, you use tunnels everytime you flush.

    I voted against the tunnel. I still get amped when I see a great engineering project underway!

  • Tony S March 21, 2013 (10:33 am)

    I believe you lost fair and square in the last election.

  • Jason March 21, 2013 (6:27 pm)

    you can track the ship’s progress here:!call=i%2F246467000&timerange=3600&tail=3600

    • WSB March 21, 2013 (7:55 pm)

      Well, it hasn’t updated since 3/19, so no different from other online services, but thanks.

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