Contents tagged with sr99

  • + Why doesn't tunneling happen 24/7?

    Seattle Tunnel Partners is responsible for the project schedule, including staffing. They are currently tunneling on a schedule of 24 hours per day, five days per week. Maintaining this schedule requires two tunnel crews working 12 hours per shift each working day. Each crew works 60 hours per week, and then gets two full days off to rest.

    For STP to safely tunnel on a 24/7 schedule, they would need two additional crews so that the four crews could work on a rotational basis – eight hours per shift, three shifts per day, seven days per week – to give each of the four tunnel crews two days off per week. There is not enough experienced and qualified supervision, engineering and labor available for STP to increase the number of tunnel crews from two to four to enable tunneling on a 24/7 schedule.


  • + Why doesn't WSDOT provide daily tunneling progress updates?

    WSDOT receives regular questions from the public about the rate of tunneling progress. While we were able to provide multiple updates each day during the ten-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in spring 2016, sharing updates that frequently isn’t sustainable for the duration of the project.

    WSDOT receives a significant amount of information from the contractor during the course of tunneling. Before we can share that information publicly, it needs to be verified – a process that takes time and resources. That verification process was streamlined by our 24/7 command center during the viaduct closure, but is not feasible to complete daily during normal operations.  

    We recognize that the public has a strong interest in the outcome of the tunnel project, and we are committed to sharing regular progress updates as the project moves forward. For now, you can expect twice-weekly updates on our Follow Bertha page. Look for updates on Mondays and Thursdays. 

    Along with the latest statistics, the Follow Bertha page includes a route map that shows the general location of the machine and some of the characteristics of the “zone” through which crews are currently mining. You can also follow Bertha on Twitter @BerthaDigsSR99 for regular updates.



  • + How many lanes will the tunnel have?

    The tunnel will have two 11-foot travel lanes with an eight-foot safety shoulder and a two-foot shoulder in each direction that will ensure enough space for all vehicles and legal size trucks.


  • + Who will pay for the cost associated with the tunneling machine stoppage?

    In 2014, Seattle Tunnel Partners requested $125 million in additional compensation related to the stoppage. WSDOT denied that request after determining it had no contractual merit. The process for resolving disputes within the tunnel contract is prescriptive. It requires multiple steps by both parties. Should Seattle Tunnel Partners continue to pursue entitlement related to the stoppage, it will take time to resolve. Ultimately, the responsibility for costs associated with the delay will be determined through the project's design-build contract. 


  • + Did other work continue during the tunneling stoppage?

    Construction at the north and south end of the SR 99 tunnel has been ongoing throughout the stoppage. Crews have built ramp and roadway connections at each portal. They've also continued work on the operations building that will control safety features, lighting and ventilation within the future tunnel. 


  • + How was the tunneling machine repaired?

    Seattle Tunnel Partners built a 120-foot-deep pit in front of the machine. When the pit was complete, the machine tunneled forward into it. Crews then partially disassembled the machine and made repairs and enhancements. This narrated video (links to YouTube) explains the repair process in detail. The machine mined out of the pit in January 2016.


  • + Why did tunneling stop in December 2013?

    Tunneling began in summer 2013just west of the stadiums. In December 2013, Seattle Tunnel Partners stopped tunneling approximately 1,000 feet into the tunnel drive after experiencing increased temperatures in the machine. While investigating the cause of the high temperature readings, STP discovered damage to the machine’s seal system and contamination within the main bearing. STP has since completed repairs and enhancements to the machine and resumed tunneling. Their latest construction schedule is available here.