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Seattle Times letters to the editor

Topic: Bertha

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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

January 26, 2014 at 6:02 AM

Bertha: WSDOT bore responsibility for removing obstructions

As a retired public works official with the City of Bellevue, I have followed with great interest the conundrum surrounding Bertha, the stuck tunnel boring machine [“Rock was just the right size to get stuck in Bertha,” The Today File, Jan. 22]. In my experience, one of the chief responsibilities of a lead agency,…


Comments | More in Transportation | Topics: Bertha, Clark Douglas, highway 99

September 12, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Getting Bertha moving again

Cut out unions Those in charge of the tunnel project should simply hire nonunion workers to deal with the removal of the excavated material from the boring project. [“Bertha stuck, needs help to get out of this muck,” NW Wednesday, Sept. 11.] Since neither union group is willing to make a compromise, the simple solution would…


Comments | More in Economy, Politics, Seattle | Topics: Bertha, labor, tunnel

September 11, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Labor dispute halts tunnel work in Seattle

A picket line that needs to be crossed I do not understand the longshoremen’s union’s position on the removal of dirt from the tunnel project. [“Tunnel work grinds to a halt over union dispute,” page one, Sept. 7.] They apparently agreed to arbitration but dislike the July ruling. They were offered a reasonable split of the…


Comments | More in Labor, Politics, Seattle | Topics: Bertha, ILWU, labor

July 12, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Bertha prepares to bore into the Highway 99 tunnel

Department of Transportation’s publicity campaign is insulting After receiving numerous updates on Bertha, the Washington Department of Transportation’s tunnel-digging machine, and reading an invitation to “Bertha’s bon-voyage ceremony,” I have to respond. The tunneling machine is a thing, not a female. Perhaps you’re taking “boring” too literally, such that you have to anthropomorphize this digger and treat…


Comments | More in Seattle, Transportation | Topics: Bertha, digging, machine