May 3 project update: Small section of tunneling machine lifted from pit

Posted on May 3 2017 4:34 PM

Yesterday Seattle Tunnel Partners lifted the first piece of the SR 99 tunneling machine from the disassembly pit near Seattle Center. Crews cut a small piece of the machine’s shield to confirm its sectional weight ahead of cutting and lifting other pieces.

Crews are also preparing Bertha’s cutterhead for a series of lifts, cutting the steel that connects the cutterhead’s 16 spokes and welding lifting-eyes (circled below) onto the spokes so they can be safely hoisted by the 400-ton crane on site.

Zoom-in photo of cutterhead with circles highlighting two loops welded to the cutterhead

The entire disassembly process is expected to last up to five months and can be viewed with our time-lapse construction cameras.

New video: Bertha’s crews reflect on the tunnel journey

Many of the workers now helping disassemble the tunneling machine are the same workers who built the tunnel. That work required long hours, including weekends and nights working underground. In this video, several members of Bertha’s crew reflect on what the end of tunneling means to them.

Order: 1.6