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Old 07-31-2013, 02:07 PM   #1
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World’s largest tunnelling machine, Bertha, starts digging new Highway 99 route benea

SEATTLE — After years of planning and months of work, the world’s largest tunnelling machine started drilling Tuesday to create a new route for Highway 99 under downtown Seattle buildings, the Washington Transportation Department said.

“Today is the day,” spokeswoman KaDeena Yerkan said. “Everyone here is very excited.”

The tunnel will go under about 200 buildings, but officials don’t expect any serious problems from the machine they call Bertha.

“We know exactly the path of Bertha and what she’ll encounter along the way,” Yerkan said.

The tunnelling crew will be monitoring for settling and vibrations and is prepared to keep building foundations secure.

“So we’re not worried buildings are going to tip,” Yerkan said.

Transportation officials have set up Bertha with her own Twitter account to provide updates.

Bertha is 326 feet (100 metres) long and weighs 7,000 tons. It will leave a tunnel nearly 58 feet (17.5 metres) in diameter.

The $80-million machine is part of the $3.1-billion project to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the double deck highway along the downtown Seattle waterfront. Built in 1953, it has carried 110,000 vehicles a day. Officials said the structure had to be replaced because it could collapse in an earthquake. Its removal is part of a project to renovate the waterfront, rebuilding the seawall, improving surface streets and adding new vistas of Elliott Bay.

Bertha was built in Japan and arrived by ship in April in 41 pieces. It was reassembled in a pit near the CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field stadiums.

It will take about 14 months to complete a nearly two-mile (3.2 km) tunnel. Bertha is projected to punch through to the surface near south Lake Union by October 2014. Traffic is expected to start using the four-lane toll tunnel by late 2015.

The Transportation Department and the contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, held a June 20 dedication ceremony with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee calling it a historic occasion.

Bertha is named for Bertha Knight Landes, the first and so far only woman to serve as mayor of Seattle. She was elected in 1926.
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World?s largest tunnelling machine, Bertha, starts digging new Highway 99 route beneath Seattle waterfront
World?s largest tunnelling machine, Bertha, starts digging new Highway 99 route beneath Seattle waterfront
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:18 PM   #2
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:24 PM   #3
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More info (and pics) here:

http://gizmodo.com/bon-voyage-big-be...-fut-977885200

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Old 07-31-2013, 03:39 PM   #4
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:39 PM   #5
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I think that the company my buddy works for is doing that project since they are located in Seattle. They just finished the large project in Mexico and my buddy was the lead on the whole drilling process on the project.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:42 PM   #6
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I think that the company my buddy works for is doing that project since they are located in Seattle. They just finished the large project in Mexico and my buddy was the lead on the whole drilling process on the project.
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:40 PM   #7
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My mother was friends with a lady down the road in Nova Scotia that moved away 25 years ago that was second cousins to Burton Cummings, that was kind of a big deal if you like that song Taking Care of Business.

Point is, we all have powerful friends Murdoc
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:27 PM   #8
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I'm actually surprised that machine is ONLY worth $80 million.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:46 PM   #9
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^ Considering a recent thread involved a yacht with a 60M annual maintenance investment, I completely agree.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:13 PM   #10
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I'm actually surprised that machine is ONLY worth $80 million.
I wonder what the cost is for replacement blades, however.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:30 PM   #11
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what an honour to be a woman and have the worlds largest tunneling machine named big bertha after you
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:35 PM   #12
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First the Big Bertha driver from Callaway Golf, and now this!

Bertha is not a very flattering name...
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:14 AM   #13
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For a moment there, I was hopeful this had something to do with replacing/expanding the Massey Tunnel
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:17 AM   #14
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For a moment there, I was hopeful this had something to do with replacing/expanding the Massey Tunnel
Anybody who drives that tunnel at rush hour every day knows that tunnel is just fine. In fact, we can probably replace one of the lanes with a bike lane.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:54 AM   #15
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it reminds me this

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Old 08-01-2013, 08:47 AM   #16
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I wonder what the cost is for replacement blades, however.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:01 AM   #17
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what an honour to be a woman and have the worlds largest tunneling machine named big bertha after you
Perhaps she was big in ideas and personality(but probably big boned as well)
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:02 AM   #18
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Inb4 Gears of War-esque collapse of entire city. IT'S A GIANT WORRMMM!
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:21 AM   #19
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If we only had these kinds of engineering projects to improve our transportation network in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

TransLink is always asking for money, for handouts. -too broke to get big Bertha working for us.

We get a new Port Mann bridge, but not enough money to fix our roads and transit system. Mayor Moonbeam spends tax dollars on bike lanes.

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Old 08-02-2013, 01:29 PM   #20
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Did anyone else think this when they saw the picture?

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Old 08-02-2013, 01:35 PM   #21
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Wow you have really short memory! We did have tunnelling machines, when we were building Canada line. The stretch from Cambie to Downtown, in fact I think one of them is buried down there for good.

It took Seattle a few earthquakes and close calls to decide to tear that thing down. They weren't any better.

Well "Mayor Moonbeam" as you said, also wants transit from Commercial to UBC, so we will get a tunnelling machine when that happens. If you want things done quicker, get the Gov to reduce appeal process to 1 round.. instead of NIMBY keep pilling on lawsuits after lawsuits to drag the process out.

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If we only had these kinds of engineering projects to improve our transportation network in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

TransLink is always asking for money, for handouts. -too broke to get big Bertha working for us.

We get a new Port Mann bridge, but not enough money to fix our roads and transit system. Mayor Moonbeam spends tax dollars on bike lanes.

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Old 08-02-2013, 08:32 PM   #22
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I think that the company my buddy works for is doing that project since they are located in Seattle. They just finished the large project in Mexico and my buddy was the lead on the whole drilling process on the project.
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seems like you got a dick up your ass well..get that checked
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Old 08-03-2013, 01:17 AM   #23
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I'm actually surprised that machine is ONLY worth $80 million.
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I wonder what the cost is for replacement blades, however.
The tunnelling machine is a joint venture with Gillette. They, practically, give away the machine, but make bank on the replacement blades
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:57 AM   #24
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