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Commissioning of the SR 99 tunneling machine continues as Seattle Tunnel Partners prepares to resume mining. STP began testing machine components earlier this month as crews continued welding pieces and reconnecting hoses and cables. Last week, STP began rotating the machine’s cutterhead a few degrees at a time, stopping periodically to take measurements before completing a full rotation.Tuesday, Nov. 24 marked the first sustained rotation of the cutterhead since the machine broke through the southern wall (links to YouTube) of the access pit on Feb. 19. STP indicated they will rotate the cutterhead in both directions for about one hour at a time. Watch a short video of the cutterhead rotating below.During the next phase of commissioning, STP will backfill the access pit with sand and gravel to prepare the machine for mining. STP's most recent schedule shows that the machine will be ready to resume mining on Dec. 23. The state cannot verify the contractor's schedule.— more —
Seattle Tunnel Partners and manufacturer Hitachi Zosen have begun testing components of the SR 99 tunneling machine as they prepare to resume mining. A few initial tests were performed last week, and several others are slated to occur in the coming weeks.This week’s highlights include tests of various pumps inside the machine, as well as the screw conveyor system that carries excavated material from the cutterhead to the back of the machine and out of the tunnel. All of the tests are being conducted by STP and Hitachi Zosen, who are jointly responsible for ensuring the machine is ready to complete the remainder of the tunnel drive. Future tests will include rotation of the machine’s cutterhead, which, according to STP, will occur in late November.Some reassembly work is ongoing. Major components of the machine are in place, but crews continue to weld pieces together and reconnect wires and hoses. STP’s most recent schedule shows that the machine will be ready to resume mining on Dec. 23. WSDOT cannot verify the contractor’s schedule. The narrated video below explains STP’s repair effort in more detail.Other workSTP crews have finished treating the ground north of the access pit. They began injecting grout into the soil there last month to stabilize the area where the machine will exit the access pit. Crews will soon place a thin layer of sand at the bottom of the pit; the rest of the pit will be filled after initial testing is complete.STP crews are also preparing to install glass walls at the operations buildings located at each portal. The north building’s glass will be installed first. Read more about those efforts in this post.— 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
You may have noticed more construction along State Route 99, just north of the Battery Street Tunnel. That work is part of the SR 99 Tunnel Project, but it has its own name – the North Access Project. It’s also being built under a completely different contract than the one we have with Seattle Tunnel Partners, the contracting team responsible for most of the tunnel work. A map of major contracts within the program can be found here (pdf 1.1 Mb).
Our contractor for the North … more
A few blocks northeast of the Space Needle, crews are building the north portal of the SR 99 tunnel. It’s a huge piece of the overall tunnel project, but it’s largely invisible to the thousands of people that pass by it every day.
About the only place you can see the north portal taking shape is from the viewing deck of the Space Needle because most of the construction is underground, inside a pit that’s every bit as impressive as the launch pit where Bertha, the SR 99 … more