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April 6, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Tunnel digger Bertha finally in port

A crew member of the ship carrying Bertha, the giant boring machine, is in red (far right) dwarfed by the 57 1/2-foot cutting face of the machine. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

A crew member of the ship carrying Bertha, the giant tunnel-boring machine, (in red at far right) is dwarfed by the massive cutting face of the machine. (Photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

Bertha, the $80 million boring machine for the Highway 99 tunnel, came into port this morning after waiting in Elliott Bay since Tuesday. Some of its smaller pieces should make it onto dry land later today at the Port of Seattle, according to a Twitter account associated with the Japanese-made machine, which is the largest of its kind. Unloading the 900 tons of machine parts could take two weeks or longer.

The Washington State Department of Transportation had planned for Bertha to dock Wednesday but said Friday that bringing it into port had been delayed because “arrangements are still being made to unload the ship.”

Once the parts are unloaded, they will be taken about a quarter mile away from the waterfront to a pit where Bertha will be fully assembled this spring.

Comments | More in General news, Traffic & Transit | Topics: bertha, Elliott Bay, highway 99

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