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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

Category: Bertha drill
February 26, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Bertha: Call it quits

BERTHA’S BROKEN SEALS: The $80 million tunnel-boring machine is suffering from damage to the seals that are supposed to protect its $5 million main bearing. But before it even got to Seattle, the same seals were a problem. Workers in Japan discovered damage and ended up taking Bertha apart for repairs. (Mark Nowlin / The Seattle Times).

While the tunnel to replace the viaduct may have appeared to be a bright idea, it now is appearing to be more of a folly [“Bertha’s big troubles started in Japan,” Local News, Feb. 25]. Plagued by problems from the start — seals failed during initial testing in Japan — it has only managed to travel 1,025 feet of the 1.7 miles needed for the tunnel.

In one respect, the Seattle Tunnel Partners may be fortunate it broke down where it did because they have access to be able to dig a pit to remove the cutting head to repair the seals.


Comments | More in Bertha drill | Topics: alaskan way viaduct, Bertha, Ron Hopper

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.


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