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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 20, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Bertha drill holdup

Possible railroad effects could be devastating

The possible disaster to be most feared because of the Bertha drill would be any settling that affected Seattle’s railroad tunnel [“Stuck 60 feet beneath Seattle,” page one, Dec. 10].

Consider the city of Baltimore and the fire in its railroad tunnel. Even after a year of rework and repair, that tunnel had not been returned to service. Could the Port of Seattle stand being cut off from use of the railroad tunnel for a year?

It is my understanding that about 70 percent of what is shipped in and out of the Port arrives or leaves through Seattle’s railroad tunnel and its singular connection to the Stevens Pass railroad route.

If most of this traffic had to be diverted to the southern route — passing close to or through the ports of Portland, Vancouver and Kalama — I suspect that a large part of it would be diverted to those ports, and that diversion might largely be permanent. This would be a devastating blow to the Port of Seattle and to the workers who depend on it.

— David N. Banks, Seattle

Comments | More in Bertha drill | Topics: Bertha drill, infrastructure

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