Jan. 14 project update: Tunneling on hold pending safety review

Posted on Jan 14 2016 2:23 PM
In light of recent incidents on the SR 99 Tunnel Project, WSDOT has notified Seattle Tunnel Partners (pdf 372 KB) that they must "suspend for cause" tunneling operations involving the tunneling machine and the loading of barges. 
 
STP must complete a detailed analysis and modify tunneling operations to ensure appropriate ground control. STP will not be allowed to resume tunneling until their analysis and work plans meet the satisfaction of the design-build contract and WSDOT’s experts.
 
The tunnel contract contains a few different mechanisms for stopping work. In this case, WSDOT suspended work “for cause” per section 14.2 of the contract, which says the state can suspend work without liability to WSDOT under a number of conditions, including the contractor’s failure to “correct conditions unsafe for the project personnel or general public.”  
 
This suspension for cause only addresses tunneling operations involving the tunneling machine, including loading of barges at the site. It does not affect any of the other work under the design-build contract with STP or in any other contracts being managed by the viaduct program. For example, the Aurora Avenue North lane closures will occur as scheduled next week. 
 
Our intent in directing this suspension of work is to ensure the tunneling operation proceeds safely. 
 
Recent updates 
 
For earlier program updates, please visit our archive page.