Advisories/Updates

  • March 31 project update: Bertha lift complete

    2:35 p.m. update: On Tuesday afternoon, Seattle Tunnel Partners safely placed the front end of the SR 99 tunneling machine on the repair platform located just south of the access pit. The set-down marked the end of a successful lift process that began early Monday. This time-lapse video shows the lift from a spot just north of the tunnel access pit.
     
    Crews will continue disassembling the machine’s 2,000-ton front end in the coming days, using the massive red crane that completed yesterday’s lift to arrange pieces on the repair site. Repair work will take place south of the pit beneath a large canopy that will soon be moved into place to protect the workers and machine pieces from the elements. 
     
    This was the fourth and final lift to bring pieces of the tunneling machine to the surface, a process explained in detail in our narrated video (links to YouTube). At 2,000 tons, this was also the largest lift crews undertook. In addition to the cutterhead, the newly removed drive unit section includes motors and parts that enable the cutterhead to rotate. It also houses the main bearing and seal system that will be replaced during repairs.
     
    You can continue to track STP’s work on our time-lapse camera and follow @BerthaDigsSR99 on Twitter for updates. 
     
     

    ***

    On Monday, Seattle Tunnel Partners lifted the SR 99 tunneling machine’s front end from the access pit. The lifting process began early Monday morning with a series of tests to ensure the massive red crane performing the lift could handle the weight of the 2,000-ton section. The piece began rising from the pit around noon and was visible at the surface a few hours later. By 9 p.m., crews had positioned the piece above the platform where it will be set down for repairs.

    STP chose to wait until Tuesday morning to complete the lift with a fresh crew. You can track the conclusion of the lift on our time-lapse camera and follow @BerthaDigsSR99 on Twitter for updates.

    — more —
  • March 30 project update: Lift of Bertha's 2,000-ton front end underway

    9:25 p.m. update: After a successful day of lifting, Seattle Tunnel Partners has chosen to wait until morning to place the SR 99 tunneling machine's front end on the repair platform. The piece will remain suspended above the platform until a fresh crew arrives in the morning to complete the lift.
     
    You can track the conclusion of the lift on our time-lapse camera and follow @BerthaDigsSR99 on Twitter for updates.
     
    Crews will wait until Tuesday morning to place Bertha on the repair platform.
     

    ***

    6:30 p.m. update: Seattle Tunnel Partners is making good progress as they continue to lift the SR 99 tunneling machine’s front end to the surface for repairs. Crews began the lifting process early Monday morning with a series of tests to ensure the massive red crane performing the lift could handle the weight of the 2,000-ton section. The lift began around noon and the piece was visible at the surface a few hours later. 
     
    To expedite the lifting process, crews chose to rotate the section into a horizontal position as they hoisted it from the pit. When the rotation is complete, the crane will roll southward on its rails toward the specially made platform where the piece will be set down. The lift won’t likely be completed for several more hours, but there is no set schedule. Crews will take as long as necessary to safely lower the piece to the platform.
     
    You can track the action on our time-lapse camera and follow @BerthaDigsSR99 on Twitter for updates.
     
         
    Bertha at the start of the lift.                        Bertha emerges from the pit.
     
    ***
     
    12:30 p.m. update: Seattle Tunnel Partners has begun lifting the SR 99 tunneling machine’s front end to the surface for repairs. A massive red crane began the lift – which includes the machine’s five-story-tall cutterhead – around noon Monday. Because the piece is so large, the lift could take 16 hours or longer, but there is no set schedule. Crews will take as long as necessary to safely complete the lift.
     
    You can track the action on our time-lapse camera and follow @BerthaDigsSR99 on Twitter for updates.
     
    ***
     
    Seattle Tunnel Partners is getting ready to begin lifting the SR 99 tunneling machine’s 2,000-ton front end to the surface for repairs. The first step in the lifting process is to incrementally add weight to the crane to ensure it can safely complete the lift. Because the piece is so large, the entire lift process could take 16 hours or longer, but there is no set schedule. Crews will take as long as necessary to prepare for and execute the lift.
     
    In addition to the machine’s five-story-tall cutterhead, the section being lifted includes the motors and parts that enable the cutterhead to rotate. It also houses the main bearing and seal system that will be replaced during the repairs.
     
    The crane doing the lifting was built by Mammoet, a firm that has performed other large lifts around the world, including the successful recovery of a Russian nuclear submarine from the bottom of the Barents Sea. Equipped with nearly seven miles of steel cable, the crane bringing Bertha to the surface is capable of lifting more than 2,400 tons. Check out our time-lapse video (links to YouTube) showing the crane’s assembly.  
     
    This will be the fourth and final lift to bring pieces of the tunneling machine to the surface, a process our narrated video (links to YouTube) explains in detail. To date, crews have removed three pieces of Bertha’s exterior from the pit, the largest weighing 270 tons. The first lift, which occurred on March 19, can be seen from the perspective of the crane operator in this time-lapse video (links to YouTube).
     
    You can track the action on our time-lapse camera and follow @BerthaDigsSR99 on Twitter for updates. We’ll also continue to post photos and videos as STP’s work progresses. 
    — more —
  • March 27 project update: Final lift approaches

    Seattle Tunnel Partners is nearly ready to lift the SR 99 tunneling machine’s front end to the surface for repairs. On Thursday, the massive red crane that will make the lift was rolled into place above the tunnel access pit. Crews are now connecting rigging and will spend the weekend making final preparations to lift the 2,000-ton piece to the surface. In addition to the machine’s five-story-tall cutterhead, the section being lifted includes the motors and parts that enable the cutterhead to rotate. It also houses the main bearing and seal system that will be replaced during the repairs.
     
    Because the piece is so large, the lift could take 16 hours or longer, but there is no set schedule. Crews will take as long as necessary to prepare for and safely complete the lift. The crane doing the lifting was built by Mammoet, a firm that has performed similar lifts around the world, including the successful recovery of a Russian nuclear submarine from the bottom of the Barents Sea. Equipped with nearly seven miles of steel cable, the crane bringing Bertha to the surface is capable of lifting more than 2,400 tons. Check out our time-lapse video (links to YouTube) showing the crane’s assembly.  
     
    This will be the fourth and final lift in STP’s repair effort, which our narrated video (links to YouTube) explains in detail. To date, crews have removed three pieces of Bertha’s exterior from the pit, the largest weighing 270 tons. The first lift, which occurred on March 19, can be seen from the perspective of the crane operator in this time-lapse video (links to YouTube).
     
    You can track the action on our time-lapse camera and follow @BerthaDigsSR99 on Twitter for updates. We’ll also continue to post photos and videos as STP’s work progresses.
     
     
    The crane that will lift the tunneling machine's front end to the surface rolled into position on Thursday.
    — more —
  • March 23 project update: Third piece of tunneling machine lifted to the surface

    Seattle Tunnel Partners has successfully lifted the third piece of the SR 99 tunneling machine to the surface for repairs. Crews lifted the machine’s 90-ton right side body from the pit Monday afternoon. Like the previous two pieces removed from the pit, the right side body is part of the machine's exterior shield.

    The first lift, which occurred last week, can be seen from the perspective of the crane operator in this time-lapse video (links to YouTube).

    With the machine's upper shield removed, STP will turn their attention to the final lift: Bertha's massive cutterhead and main drive unit. Crews will use the giant red crane, called a modular lift tower, to make the 2,000-ton lift. This narrated video (links to YouTube) explains the repair plan in detail.  

     

    Crews lifted Bertha’s 90-ton right side body from the pit on Monday.

    Three pieces of Bertha's shield have been brought to the surface for repairs. 

    You can track the action on our time-lapse camera and follow @BerthaDigsSR99 on Twitter for updates. We’ll also continue to post photos and videos as STP’s work progresses. 

    — more —

Program Spotlight

  • A look inside the new-look SR 99 tunnel

    Not long ago, you might have been able to fit a five-story building inside the cavernous circumference of the SR 99 tunnel. Not anymore. From the south end of the tunnel to the back end of Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, crews have filled the tunnel with long stretches of walls and roadway sections of the future underground highway. The series of photos below shows just how much the landscape inside the tunnel has changed. 

     

    In the first photo, you are looking … more