By the time Seattle’s Highway 99 bore resumes next spring, a new transit drill across town will already have traveled a mile.
With a bottle of apple cider, Sound Transit Monday christened tunnel-boring machine “Brenda” near the future Northgate Station, where it will dig toward Roosevelt and the University District starting in June, to create the southbound tube of the $2.1 billion North Link light-rail project. A second machine will launch from Northgate in September to build the northbound train tube.
The twin drills will take about two years to arrive at the University of Washington Station, which opens in early 2016 next to Husky Stadium. The UW station has a built-in receiving area where the drills from Northgate can be removed. Train service to Northgate begins in 2021.
Brenda’s cutting face is 21 feet, 1 inch in diameter, about one-seventh the area of Highway 99 tunnel machine Bertha, largest in the world at 57 feet, 4 inches in diameter.