From Times staff reporter Mike Lindblom
The enormous Highway 99 tunnel-boring machine will be named “Bertha” to honor former Seattle Mayor Bertha Knight Landes, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced Monday.
Landes was elected in 1926. During her sole two-year term she sought improvements to public transit and encouraged citizens to report reckless driving, according to HistoryLink.org.
A fifth-grade class at Poulsbo Elementary School, and second-grader Elijah Beerbower of Lincoln Elementary in Hoquiam each submitted the name, in a contest for schoolchildren. The DOT has opened a Twitter account, @BerthaDigsSR99.
The 57.5-foot-diameter machine is being tested in Osaka, Japan, before shipment to Seattle’s Terminal 46 in March. Drilling begins from a massive pit in Sodo next June, proceeding to South Lake Union by fall 2014. The finished tunnel would open to traffic around New Year’s 2016.