In a week of some bad transportation news – a crippled mass transit system in snowbound Boston, cracked rails and delays on Washington’s Metro, an oil train derailment in West Virginia, and the unresolved West Coast ports dispute, here’s one bit of good news: Bertha is now closer to her rescue and repair.
In January we reported on Bertha, the $80 million, 7,000-ton tunnel-boring machine that was stuck 60 feet under Seattle’s waterfront.
Bertha had been digging a tunnel under the waterfront part of the city to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct, a major north-south artery which was damaged by the Nisqually earthquake in 2001.
But the giant machine got stuck in December of 2013 after the project manager reported that “unanticipated and increasing resistance was experienced” and crews discovered damage to the machine.
On Thursday, part of Bertha’s cutter head broke through a wall of an access pit that will eventually allow crews to take the machine apart and repair it.
“We don’t have an estimated repair cost yet.” Chris Dixon, project director for the Seattle Tunnel Partners told the Seattle Times.
And when Bertha will return to her job of boring the tunnel is also not yet known.