With environmental review complete, access pit construction begins in earnest

Posted on May 8 2014 10:46 AM

Environmental review of Seattle Tunnel Partners’ plan for accessing and repairing the SR 99 tunneling machine is now complete. The on-schedule completion of the review clears the way for STP to build the 120-foot-deep pit that will allow crews to access the machine, which is located about 60 feet below the surface in a fenced-off construction zone between South Jackson and South Main streets.

The ground above the machine has been closed for construction since 2012, but further environmental review was required for this additional work.

Watch construction unfold online
Pit construction will be hard to see in person because crews recently built a wall to shield neighbors from construction noise. The best spot to view STP’s work is online at our newly installed time-lapse camera.

The camera went live on Saturday, May 3. On May 7, following completion of the environmental review, STP began assembling equipment where the pit will soon take shape. This work is consistent with the schedule STP released last month. Crews are relocating utilities and will spend the next week injecting grout into the ground above the machine. Later this month, they’ll begin installing the pit’s underground walls.

STP’s schedule shows that excavation of the pit will last from late July through September. When the pit is complete, the machine will tunnel into it. Crews will then partially disassemble the machine and make repairs.  These conceptual drawings illustrate the basic idea.

Previous updates 

April 29, 2014 update - A summary of change orders on the SR 99 Tunnel Project

April 21, 2014 update - SR 99 tunneling machine to resume digging in March 2015

April 3, 2014 update - Setting the stage for Bertha's repairs

March 13, 2014 update - Seattle Tunnel Partners submits repair plan, archaeological surveys underway

Click here to see a full archive of progress updates