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The Washington State Department of Transportation is working to build a safer, more durable, effective transportation system for our citizens. All across the state – from Bellingham to Vancouver, Forks to Spokane – we manage hundreds of important transportation projects each year to upgrade or replace aging roads and bridges, increase capacity for carrying people and freight, and create more environmentally sustainable travel options for the public.
You’ve been hearing … more
On Nov. 23, crews started barging soil from the tunnel dig site to a disposal facility near Port Ludlow. Adding barges to the fleet of trucks hauling away soil has greatly improved the speed and efficiency of the tunneling operation.
The reason for that is simple: Bertha is moving a lot of soil – soil that has to be taken away to make room for more soil. If crews removing it can't keep up with Bertha, the bin where the soil is stored gets full and the machine has to slow down. … more
Seattleites were digging tunnels long before Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, came along. Folks started transforming subterranean Seattle in 1894, with construction of a sewer tunnel not far from the SR 99 tunnel’s north portal construction site. Since then the city has seen – or not seen, as the case may be – construction of more than 40 miles worth of tunnels.
Last month marked the 109th anniversary of the historic breakthrough on the Great Northern Tunnel, which … more
Saturday, Oct. 19, marks the 145th birthday of Bertha Knight Landes, after whom the SR 99 tunneling machine was named.
Ms. Landes didn’t dig any tunnels, but there’s no question she broke ground. Elected mayor of Seattle in 1926, she was the first woman to lead a major American city. During her two years in office she battled bootleggers, cleaned up corruption in city government and put the city’s finances in order.
She was active outside of politics, too, playing … more
Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, has passed the 200-foot mark as she continues her dig toward the north end of downtown Seattle.
By the end of her shift on Oct. 8, Bertha had traveled a total of 209 feet and the top of her cutterhead was about 20 feet below the surface. She averaged nearly 14 feet of digging per day over the past week.
Bertha is still making her way through fill soil that crews have injected with grout to provide additional strength. She’ll pass into … more
After slogging through 15 feet of concrete, Bertha gets a taste of the good stuff – but why did it take so long?
Engineers depend on math. It is the thing that, more than any building material, gives shape to their designs. Want proof that what you’re building matches the design? Check the plans, do the math.
But when it comes to tracking the progress of Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, you can’t rely on an equation. Yes, we told you that Bertha would average 6 … more
Start with some sun, soil and celebration. Then add Bertha, the massive machine that will dig the SR 99 tunnel beneath downtown Seattle, and 5,000 of her closest friends. The result is a party big enough for the biggest tunnel-builder the world has ever seen.
Thousands of people descended on the SR 99 tunnel launch pit on Saturday for a chance to see Bertha up-close before she starts tunneling later this month. Guests talked to project staff, learned about the project and walked around … more
At the start of the year, it wasn’t much more than a few dozen steel beams and some columns sticking out of the ground. As the calendar turns to July 2013, the new South Atlantic Street overpass is taking shape at the southern edge of the State Route 99 tunnel construction site near the stadiums.
The overpass will address a bottleneck near the entrance to the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 46, where trains crossing South Atlantic Street frequently block traffic. When it … more
Sixty years ago this week, Seattleites welcomed the State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct to the city’s downtown waterfront. On Tuesday, April 2, the waterfront again welcomed a hulking guest: Bertha, the five-story-tall tunneling machine that will clear the way to the viaduct’s removal in 2016.
The ship carrying the machine that will dig the SR 99 tunnel beneath downtown Seattle entered Elliott Bay on Tuesday, April 2, after a two-week journey from the manufacturing plant in … more