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Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

Topic: Highway 99 tunnel

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December 16, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Digging to resume at Bertha’s repair vault

Seattle Tunnel Partners got the green light to resume digging Tuesday night in front of Bertha, the stranded boring machine for the Highway 99 tunnel project. The state ordered the contractors late Friday to stop excavating an access vault, and write an emergency plan that would allow them to safely stop groundwater pumping — in the…

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Comments | Topics: bertha, groundwater, Highway 99 tunnel

December 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Seattle’s most famous road crack filled Friday

A long crack on South King Street, which may or may not have been deepened by the Highway 99 tunnel project,  was filled with asphalt Friday. “It’s just like a pothole repair,” said Rick Sheridan, spokesman for the Seattle Department of Transportation.  The fix followed findings by Seattle Tunnel Partners, using ground-penetrating radar, that there are…

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Comments | Topics: bertha, cracks, Highway 99 tunnel

December 9, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Actually, digging continued Tuesday at Bertha’s repair pit

Despite this week’s scare about soil settlement in Pioneer Square, excavation continued Tuesday at the access vault that will be used to reach stalled tunnel machine Bertha. Seattle Tunnel Partners removed three feet and has now reached 84 feet depth, for the 120-foot deep shaft, the Washington State Department of Transportation said Tuesday afternoon. Progress can be…

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Comments | Topics: bertha, Highway 99 tunnel

November 3, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Excavation to tunneling machine resumes; no artifacts found

Archaeologists have seen enough 19th-century shell deposits that they can let heavy excavation resume at Seattle’s Pioneer Square waterfront, where workers are digging an access pit to reach buried tunnel-boring machine Bertha. Seattle Tunnel Partners was given permission Sunday to continue digging the 120-foot-deep vault, after stopping work Oct. 23, the state Department of Transportation announced…

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Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: bertha, Highway 99 tunnel, Seattle

October 31, 2014 at 9:04 PM

New tunnel-machine bearing arrives from Japan

Hitachi built a new seal ring in Japan for its stranded tunnel-boring machine, and it arrived Friday at Seattle’s Terminal 46. The state Department of Transportation tweeted photos of new seal ring, as well as the new bearing. Previously, Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) said it kept a spare bearing, a requirement of its $1.44 billion contract to…

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Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: bertha, Highway 99 tunnel

October 29, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Shells in Bertha’s repair vault likely from settlers’ oyster business

Old shells discovered within tunnel machine Bertha’s repair pit likely were not left by Native tribes, but by white settlers who removed oyster meat and left shell piles behind, officials say. Allyson Brooks, state historic preservation officer, said Wednesday the shells are mostly from small Olympia oysters that grew far from Elliott Bay, and later…

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Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: Allyson Brooks, bertha, Highway 99 tunnel

October 28, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Archaeologists start shell study at Highway 99 tunnel site

Archaeologists began an investigation Tuesday afternoon alongside stranded tunnel machine Bertha, where a deposit of shells appeared last week roughly 20 feet below street level. The shells turned up while workers were excavating a 120-foot-deep vault that will be used this winter to lift away the machine’s front end so it can be repaired. The shells…

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Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: bertha, Highway 99 tunnel

October 23, 2014 at 7:44 AM

A real scoop: excavation under way at Bertha’s repair pit

Crews had dug down nearly 20 feet as of Wednesday afternoon, as they make a 120-foot-deep vault where tunnel machine Bertha’s front end can be cut open for repairs. Digging started late last week and will continue through November, until about 20,000 cubic yards of soil is removed from within a deep concrete ring that was built this…

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September 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Seattle tunnel tops U.S. green group’s ‘boondoggle’ list

The Highway 99 tunnel tops a new list of 11 “highway boondoggles” that shouldn’t be built, in a report issued Thursday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). The report, called “Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future,” argues that America’s six-decade “Driving Boom” has passed its prime, and miles traveled will gradually…

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Comments | Topics: Highway 99 tunnel, Phineas Baxandall, US PIRG

September 8, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Bertha burrows ahead 3 feet

Tunnel-boring machine Bertha dug forward three feet Thursday and Friday, to get ready for fall repairs, the state Department of Transportation said Monday. “We were just pleased we were able to move three feet, after it sat so long,” said Chris Dixon, executive director of contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners, in a phone interview Monday. The giant drill’s cutter…

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