Purpose

To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Anything but boring: World’s largest tunnelling machine, Big Bertha, is stuck under Seattle, Tweets an interview

 http://blog.archpaper.com/2016/02/worlds-largest-tunnel-boring-machine-stopped-tweets/#.Vru1q1J1bhU

By Ariel Rosenstock, February 2, 2016

 A close-up view of Bertha’s cutterhead. Flickr / WSDOT CC BY 2.0
 A close-up view of Bertha’s cutterhead.

Big Bertha, Seattle’s famous tunnel boring machine, is stuck underground again. Bertha was running for just under a month following a two year delay to fix a broken cutter head. And the machine has taken to Twitter, as we imagine it can get lonely so far beneath the city.


Filling the SR 99 tunnel access pit. Flickr / WSDOT CC BY 2.0
Filling the SR 99 tunnel access pit.

A little over two weeks ago, a large sinkhole formed while Bertha was drilling the over-57-foot-diameter Highway 99 tunnel to replace the earthquake prone viaduct. No one knows exactly why it happened. Just earlier that day, a nearby Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) barge tilted, offloading tunnel dirt into Elliot Bay and dismantling part of a dock.

The 15-foot-deep, 20-feet-wide, and 35-foot-long sinkhole was quickly filled with 250 cubic yards of concrete and sand.

But Bertha is still stuck. STP wants to start Bertha again, but the Washington State Department of Transportation (WDOT) hasn’t given them the necessary written permission to move forward yet. SDOT says they need more information.

But enough of the dismal facts and figures. And now, for something different:

The nonprofit blog Strong Towns interviewed @StuckBertha, Bertha’s unofficial Twitter account, in January. Enjoy some excerpts from their tongue-in-cheek conversation, below.