By Dori Monson, July 29, 2014
There is yet another delay for the Seattle tunnel project in the repair
timeline. KIRO Radio's Dori Monson doesn't think the tunnel will ever be
We're hearing this week there is yet another delay for the Seattle
tunnel. This is something that affects everybody who is listening
because everybody in the state is going to be on the hook for this
On Monday, we got an update on the delay, and according to Chris Dixon,
the project manager for Seattle Tunnel Partners, it's going to be
another month before they can even start this repair.
"Originally, we were going to finish the secant piles by the end of
July. Now, they're going to finish next month and that puts us about one
When they first released the extensive drawings and schematics for the repair plans, I said the complexity of the plans made me even more confident that my billion-dollar overrun estimate is conservative.
Now, I am just a dumb guy from Ballard with zero engineering and zero
geology background, so how is it that here on this show we were able to
say there is no way they're going to be able to make these repairs on
the timetable they've proposed? It was just such an obviously massive
job. How is it that the gut from a dumb guy from Ballard at a glance was
more accurate than the people running this program?
I really don't understand how with all the experts, all the engineers,
all the technology, all the computer modeling, how they are so
consistently wrong on everything they do with this project.
Let me also refer you to something we exclusively broke
on this show a few months ago. We went undercover and had reporters
follow four guys, four higher-ups in the Seattle tunnel project, who
were several times a week taking an hour-and-a-half out of their days to
go to the driving range at Interbay Golf Course.
After we busted them on the air, amazingly they went back to Interbay in
the same vehicles, but they had removed the Seattle Tunnel Partners
logo so they could continue golfing on a regular basis.
There were a lot of people who said Monson, you're really scraping the
bottom of the barrel now, who cares if they go golfing on their lunch
break. What I said was if they're telling us that getting this tunnel
built on time and on budget has been a top priority, you don't have an
extra couple of hours a day to go golfing.
I don't take hour and half lunch breaks. I don't have time to do that.
And if you're managing a multi-billion dollar project that has been a
disaster, you don't have time to go golfing three, four days a week.
Golfing was apparently more important to them than serving the public.
Todd Trepanier, with the Washington State Department of Transportation,
says apparently this one month delay doesn't mean they're off schedule
to begin digging again in March.
"That has increased our concern in their ability to be able to resume
mining at the end of March, but we look to STP to give us updated
schedules. They're communicating to us just as you've heard them
communicate to you of the March date still being good from their
standpoint from what they know."
Explain to me how if the repairs right now are a month behind schedule,
you still meet a deadline that is seven months away on time? We are
being sold a bill of goods here gang.
We need a leader, we need Jay Inslee, Ed Murray, Lynn Peterson, somebody
to say, look we blew a couple billion dollars, this thing is not going
to be built, it's an impossibility, we're going to cut our losses, we're
going to save the taxpayers money.
We need a leader to save us from what is coming.
And what is coming is a
big dig multi-billion dollar overrun, that'll be multiple years behind
schedule, and in the end, I don't think the tunnel is ever going to get
This is going to end up costing every single one of us who lives in this
state thousands, maybe tens of thousands of dollars. They are stealing
this money from us and nobody besides this show is willing to sound that
alarm. We need a leader who is going to prioritize you and me above the
big developers, the labor unions, and those who might profit off this,
but they refuse to do that.