VIADUCT CLOSURE, DAY 1: First tunneling-machine progress report


That map is from the first official progress report on the Highway 99 tunneling machine since the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure began. Here’s the WSDOT announcement we just received:

As of 6 p.m. Friday, Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, had dug 6.5 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens to traffic. This pace is what we expected. The machine will proceed slowly and deliberately throughout the first few days. Visit our tracking page to see a map showing Bertha’s progress.

Bertha must dig through a few more feet of concrete to exit the maintenance stop before she starts to dig through the soil near the intersection of Yesler and Alaskan Way. Look for another progress update Saturday afternoon.

WSDOT has said that the machine will be digging around the clock while it goes beneath The Viaduct. Tonight’s full update, including the afternoon traffic overview, is here. Here are our coverage links from Day 1:

*Morning traffic/transit coverage
*Afternoon/evening traffic/transit coverage

13 Replies to "VIADUCT CLOSURE, DAY 1: First tunneling-machine progress report"

  • Admiral Mom April 29, 2016 (10:17 pm)

    Go Bertha go!

    You can do this!

  • New thinking needed April 29, 2016 (10:51 pm)

    385 feet divided by 7 feet a day of progress…..many days to go unless Bertha picks up the pace! Fingers crossed day 1 was only a partial day of digging and on future days the machine will go further than 7 feet per day.

    • Paul April 30, 2016 (6:46 am)

      Per the WSDOT announcement quoted above:

      “This pace is what we expected. The machine will proceed slowly and deliberately throughout the first few days. ”  

  • bolo April 30, 2016 (12:08 am)

    Go glad to see a lack of catastrophes!

    • bolo April 30, 2016 (12:48 am)

      s/b So glad…

  • onion April 30, 2016 (5:33 am)

    Prior to this, what is the best sustained daily progress made by Bertha? What kind of tempo are they aiming for?

  • Community Member April 30, 2016 (9:19 am)

    You can’t judge the overall pace by the first couple of days. Bertha’s first task is to dig through a solid block of concrete that has been in place to protect the viaduct during earlier digging.

  • Gus April 30, 2016 (3:10 pm)

    When do we get to say ‘We told you so’?

  • Matthew April 30, 2016 (3:33 pm)

    commute home was terrible, took 2 hours.  the driver of the 120 insisted on going down 1st, this after going down airport way to lander then stuck at 4th – turned north again only to turn left at safeco while the mariners fans were streaming in.  poor planning, drivers that act like robots and aren’t creative, and the dumb idea NOT to let us use the bus way, what the ………??!!! all buses should use the bus way and turn off close to downtown NB, then turn right at WSB SB.  DUH, thanks for screwing the WS bus riders metro.

    • chemist April 30, 2016 (4:42 pm)

      Congestion delaying a bus full of passengers is a priority that’s completely separate from the priority a bus driver may have with starting/ending their shift on time using the bus way back to base.

  • wsres April 30, 2016 (6:58 pm)

    how long did it take to dig the new light rail tunnel? why wasn’t that company hired for the waterfront job? 

    • WSB April 30, 2016 (7:12 pm)

      Sound Transit has had more than one tunnel built. Don’t know a lot of the backstory but JCM, the team that is listed as its Northgate tunnel contractor, was not listed as a bidder for this project. The Highway 99 tunneling machine is more than twice the width of the “standard” transit-tunnel digging machine, it seems.

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