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Seattle Tunnel Partners is making final preparations for the SR 99 tunneling machine’s arrival at the disassembly pit near Seattle Center. Because mining rates will continue to vary as crews approach the pit, we can’t predict when Bertha’s breakthrough will occur. As of this morning, the cutterhead was approximately 320 feet from the finish line. We will continue to provide regular progress updates along the way.We recognize that there is great interest surrounding this stage of the project, and we are working on ways to share this historic moment with the public. We will be activating a new time-lapse camera as well as streaming video of the disassembly pit prior to breakthrough. These cameras will offer the best view of Bertha’s arrival in the pit. We will also continue to share photos and provide frequent updates via social media, including daily progress updates. For safety reasons, the public will not be allowed in the construction zone during the breakthrough.Look for more updates soon about the breakthrough sequence, the process for disassembling Bertha and the work that remains before the tunnel opens in 2019.— more —
The countdown is on as Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, mined into the 10th and final zone of the 9,270-foot tunnel drive this week. With 1,294 concrete tunnel rings installed in the ground behind her, Bertha is less than two blocks from the disassembly pit where her journey will end.How is the interior of the tunnel shaping up? And how is Bertha doing? It’s probably best if we show you. Click below to join Program Administrator Joe Hedges on a 360-degree tour of the project. Move your smartphone up and down to move around the tunnel. Or, if you’re on a computer, grab the picture with your mouse for a 360-degree view of the work that’s happening out of sight, underneath Seattle.Looking aheadIt’s still too early to predict when Bertha will reach the disassembly pit. Seattle Tunnel Partners’ most recent schedule shows that tunnel boring is slated to end in May, but mining rates will continue to vary based on maintenance needs and ground conditions.There’s still plenty of work to do after tunnel boring is complete. STP will begin disassembling the tunneling machine soon after the cutterhead breaks into the pit. They will remove the machine in small pieces and haul them away by truck, a process that will take several months.Meanwhile, crews will continue building the double-deck highway inside the tunnel. This work is completed in different stages, as shown in our weekly interior structures report. The roadway deck is now at the southern edge of Pike Place Market, or nearly 50 percent complete.Crews are also installing mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems that must be completed before the tunnel can open to traffic. This is a big job that is scheduled to last well into 2018.As construction continues, WSDOT and STP will begin an extensive commissioning program. This involves a series of thorough inspections, tests and quality verification procedures to ensure the tunnel systems are functioning properly.Based on STP’s schedule, the tunnel is projected to open in early 2019. Progress updates are posted on Mondays and Thursdays at our Follow Bertha page. You can also follow Bertha on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99.— more —
Seattle Tunnel Partners resumed mining today after conducting additional survey work to verify Bertha’s position and to make necessary adjustments to complete the tunnel drive. Crews performed routine inspections and maintenance while mining was stopped, including the replacement of cutterhead tools.As of this afternoon, Bertha was tunneling north toward the intersection of Denny Way and Sixth Avenue North, less than 1,000 feet from the disassembly pit.STP stopped mining on Feb. 28 after survey data indicated the tunneling machine may be several inches off the tunnel alignment. Three independent surveys confirmed the 57.5-foot machine was approximately six inches off alignment.STP designers made a slight change to the tunnel alignment between the machine’s current location and the end of the tunnel drive. Adjustments are common during tunneling, including on this project. STP made a similar adjustment to correct Bertha’s course after the machine mined out of the access pit following repairs.Crews steer Bertha (links to YouTube) based on information they receive from its onboard guidance system. The system is now set to the new tunnel alignment.— more —
Just a few days before the SR 99 tunneling machine started tunneling under the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the Washington State Department of Transportation flew a video-equipped drone through the SR 99 tunnel to show Seattle Tunnel Partners’ construction progress. There has been continued interest in seeing what has been built below ground and this video gives a glimpse of the tunnel as well as the nooks and crannies of the complex tunneling machine.
On an average day, the tunnel is … more
This week, at the south entrance to the bored tunnel, Seattle Tunnel Partners is pouring concrete for a section of the future southbound highway. On one hand, the pouring of concrete (also known as a "concrete placement”) is nothing extraordinary – it’s a common occurrence on a project that will use enough concrete to build nine football stadiums. But their frequency belies the complex choreography that goes into executing each pour successfully. Since concrete plays … more
Keeping the public informed about our work to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct is an important part of what we do every day. Our goal is to give you as much access as possible to this amazing project, which is why we regularly post updates, photos and videos of our progress. We even offer walking tours from our information center, Milepost 31, to a viewing platform that overlooks the pit where tunneling began in summer 2013.
Unfortunately, there’s one frequently received request … more
As reported elsewhere on our website, work to access and repair the SR 99 tunneling machine is coming along. We’ve heard from some people that Seattle Tunnel Partners’ repair plan is hard to picture. Enter STP’s Chris Dixon, who was nice enough to narrate a video that explains what crews are doing to resume tunneling by March 2015. Watch it on YouTube or download a WMV file.
Seattle Tunnel Partners repair work plan (pdf 4.8 Mb) … more
We’ve been asking you to do your part to reduce congestion when SR 99 closes for four days starting Friday night, Aug. 22. That includes things like changing your commute habits and choosing an alternate way to get around.
But what are we, the agencies tasked with keeping traffic moving during this closure, doing to help? Quite a bit, actually. Here’s a roundup of some of the steps we’re taking to help you and your fellow commuters through the closure.
Washington … more
Less than three years ago, crews demolished the southern mile of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. When they did, they shifted traffic onto a new section of State Route 99 south of downtown Seattle.
Much of that new section of SR 99 is permanent, but the piece west of the stadiums is temporary. This curving stretch of road takes drivers around the SR 99 tunnel construction site and connects to the remaining section of the viaduct near South King Street. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s … more
Just in time for Bike Month, we opened a new permanent connection between the on-street bike lanes south of South Atlantic Street and the shared-use path from South King Street. Here’s a map that shows the improvements, which include:
A dedicated, 14-foot-wide shared-use path with improved paving.
A separate northbound and southbound path for more efficient navigation.
Signs warning of vehicles crossing the intersection of … more