Advisories/Updates

  • March 23 project update: Third piece of tunneling machine lifted to the surface

    Seattle Tunnel Partners has successfully lifted the third piece of the SR 99 tunneling machine to the surface for repairs. Crews lifted the machine’s 90-ton right side body from the pit Monday afternoon. Like the previous two pieces removed from the pit, the right side body is part of the machine's exterior shield.

    The first lift, which occurred last week, can be seen from the perspective of the crane operator in this time-lapse video (links to YouTube).

    With the machine's upper shield removed, STP will turn their attention to the final lift: Bertha's massive cutterhead and main drive unit. Crews will use the giant red crane, called a modular lift tower, to make the 2,000-ton lift. This narrated video (links to YouTube) explains the repair plan in detail.  

     

    Crews lifted Bertha’s 90-ton right side body from the pit on Monday.

    Three pieces of Bertha's shield have been brought to the surface for repairs. 

    You can track the action on our time-lapse camera and follow @BerthaDigsSR99 on Twitter for updates. We’ll also continue to post photos and videos as STP’s work progresses. 

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  • March 21 project update: Second piece of tunneling machine lifted to the surface

    Seattle Tunnel Partners has successfully hoisted the second piece of the SR 99 tunneling machine to the surface for repairs. This evening crews lifted one of the machine's upper sections, which weighs less than 100 tons.
     
    Two more pieces of the machine will be removed from the pit as part of STP’s repair plan, which this narrated video (links to YouTube) explains in detail. Up next, crews will lift the right side body section of the machine, which weighs approximately 90 tons. The final lift will bring to the surface Bertha’s massive cutterhead and main drive unit, which weigh a combined 2,000 tons.
     
    You can track the action on our time-lapse camera and follow @BerthaDigsSR99 on Twitter for updates. We’ll also continue to post photos and videos as STP’s work progresses.

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  • Plan ahead: SR 99 closures set for weekend of March 27

    Highway construction and a regular inspection of the Alaskan Way Viaduct will close portions of SR 99 through Seattle during the weekend of March 27-29. Lane closures along both directions of SR 99 begin at 7 p.m. Friday, March 27. By 10 p.m., SR 99 will be closed between the south end of the Battery Street Tunnel and Valley Street until 5 a.m. Monday, March 30.

    SR 99 closure details
     
    7 p.m. Friday, March 27, until 5 a.m. Monday, March 30

    • Seattle Public Utilities crews will close two northbound lanes and one southbound lane of SR 99 between Ward Street and Highland Drive from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. 
    • WSDOT and SDOT contractor crews will close SR 99 between the Battery Street Tunnel and Valley Street from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.


    6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, March 29

    • WSDOT bridge inspection crews will conduct a scheduled inspection of the Alaskan Way Viaduct between Spokane Street and the Battery Street Tunnel.


    Westbound I-90 closure

    The SR 99 closures are part of a busy weekend of highway construction in the region. Drivers heading across Lake Washington from the Eastside will see westbound Interstate 90 detoured to the express lanes as crews upgrade tunnel operations systems inside the westbound Mount Baker and Mercer Island tunnels.

    11 p.m. Friday, March 27, until 5 a.m. Monday, March 30

    • Contractor crews will shift all westbound I-90 traffic between Bellevue Way and Rainier Avenue South to the express lanes from 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. 
    • Drivers wishing to access Mercer Island will need to exit westbound I-90 at East Mercer Way. There are no westbound exits to Mercer Island from the express lanes. 
    • Those wishing to travel from Mercer Island to Seattle should enter the express lanes at 77th Avenue Southeast or Island Crest Way. 
    • Westbound I-90 drivers will be unable to exit to Rainier Avenue South and should follow the signed detour via Fourth Avenue South and South Dearborn Street. 
    • Drivers needing to transport flammable materials westbound across Lake Washington must use alternate routes such as Interstate 405 or state routes 520 or 522. 
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  • March 19 project update: First piece of Bertha removed from the access pit Thursday

    Seattle Tunnel Partners has successfully hoisted the first piece of the SR 99 tunneling machine to the surface for repairs. Crews lifted the machine's 270-ton upper body to the surface on Thursday afternoon.
     
    Three more pieces of the machine will be removed from the pit as part of STP’s repair plan, which this narrated video  (links to YouTube) explains in detail. Up next, crews will lift the upper right and upper left sections of the machine – both of which weigh less than 100 tons. The final lift will bring to the surface Bertha’s massive cutterhead and main drive unit, which weigh a combined 2,000 tons. 
     
    Keep watching our time-lapse camera and following @BerthaDigsSR99  on Twitter for updates. 
     
     
    Crews lifted Bertha's 270-ton upper body from the pit on Thursday.
     
     
    A shot of Bertha in the pit following the lift. 
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  • March 17 project update: Preparing to lift Bertha from the access pit

    As disassembly of the SR 99 tunneling machine continues, Seattle Tunnel Partners is readying the area to the south of the access pit, where the machine pieces will be set down and repaired. 
     
    Crews have erected the metal frame for the large canopy that will protect workers and machine parts from the elements during repairs. The frame is already visible to traffic passing by on SR 99, but it will be even easier to spot when crews install the canopy atop the frame later this month.
     
     
    This large metal frame is part of the canopy that will protect workers and machine parts from the elements during repairs.
     
    Meanwhile, STP has told us crews may lift the first of four pieces of the machine’s front end to the surface as soon as this week. Crane operators are adding the final pieces to the massive red crane that will lift the cutterhead and drive unit, as illustrated in STP’s repair video (links to YouTube). Before that happens, a crawler crane will remove smaller pieces of the machine from the pit. 
     
    Inside the machine, crews are disconnecting hoses and cables, and have already removed eight of Bertha’s 24 motors. Removing these eight motors will give crews the clearance they need to lift the cutterhead and drive unit to the surface. The remaining 16 motors, which weigh approximately 8,000 pounds apiece, will remain attached and be removed from the pit as part of the cutterhead lift.
     
    You can track the action on our construction cameras. We’ll also continue to post photos and videos as STP’s work progresses.
     
    Repair plan resources:

     

    Previous updates

    March 3, 2015 afternoon update - Disassembly begins

    Feb. 26, 2015 afternoon update - Bertha's next move

    Feb. 20, 2015 afternoon update - Tidying up the launch pit

    Feb. 19, 2015 morning update - Bertha reaches daylight

    Feb. 19, 2015 morning update - Bertha approaching the pit

    Feb. 18, 2015 afternoon update - Bertha digs on

    Feb. 18, 2015 project update - Bertha on the move

    Archive of previous updates

     

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Program Spotlight

  • A look inside the new-look SR 99 tunnel

    Not long ago, you might have been able to fit a five-story building inside the cavernous circumference of the SR 99 tunnel. Not anymore. From the south end of the tunnel to the back end of Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, crews have filled the tunnel with long stretches of walls and roadway sections of the future underground highway. The series of photos below shows just how much the landscape inside the tunnel has changed. 

     

    In the first photo, you are looking … more