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September 17, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Inslee: Highway 99 tunnel drilling to resume in days

Union longshoremen are taking down their picket line this morning, and digging should resume in a few days at the Highway 99 tunnel project, Gov. Jay Inslee said.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) agreed to end picketing while talks continue about who will load the excavated muck onto barges as the giant tunnel machine churns through the dirt.

For now, the four jobs per shift will be done by building-trades union members, Inslee said. The ILWU wants those jobs.

The governor, at a news conference this morning, acknowledged the ILWU could picket again if a solution isn’t found, but Inslee said talks will resume in a few days and he is determined to help the sides find agreement.

Inslee said that, politically, he was very concerned that if the stalemate goes on much longer — with the tunnel machine stalled about four weeks now — it would hurt the chances to enact a 10-year state transportation plan.

Inslee spent an hour in Bellevue on Monday talking with management and union officials.

Comments | More in | Topics: Gov. Jay Inslee, highway 99, tunnel machine

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