She’s baaaaccckkkk! Bertha, the world’s largest drill, went back to work on Seattle’s waterfront yesterday, boring a tunnel that will become Highway 99. This is after the tunneling machine sat idle for two years due to various mechanical delays.
The Seattle Times announced that Bertha made a foot-and-a-half of progress yesterday. More drilling is expected today. At this rate, the tunnel is expected to be completed around April 2018. After that, work will be done to connect the entrance ramps, etc. so traffic won’t actually use the tunnel until at least mid-year 2018.
Originally, that date was supposed to be right around now- the end of 2016 or very early 2016.
Watched the Transportation hearing on TVW and they were telling about all the repairs they did to Bertha to get it back in service. The seal on the shaft where it turns had failed allowing dirt to get to the bearings. They also changed the cutters some, and reinforced several wear points. The new cutters are supposed to allow Bertha to drill faster than before.
Fingers crossed! Would be nice to make up a little time. There's a lot of angry folks about the cost/time overruns!