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As Bertha's Big Delay Turns One Year Old, It Gets Longer

Photo: WSDOT

As Crosscut delightfully denotes, December 7th is no longer a day that will live in infamy just because of Pearl Harbor. It's also the date back in 2013 when Bertha, the tunnel boring machine below Seattle (barely) ground to a halt. Exactly one year later, Bertha has barely moved and in recent days we've learned that the planned restart date of March 2015 is not-so-unexpectedly unrealistic.

Oh and did we mention the Alaskan Way Viaduct is sinking? That's not news in and of itself. The viaduct has been sinking for a while now, but at an even pace throughout. So long as that was the case, there wasn't too much to worry about.

Well guess what, the viaduct is no longer sinking evenly.

Crews will stop pumping groundwater from the soil surrounding stranded tunnel-boring machine Bertha, after state surveyors found Sunday that the nearby Alaskan Way Viaduct is sinking in an uneven manner that could lead to damage. This discovery will probably cause additional delays in Seattle Tunnel Partners' effort to repair the world's largest tunnel drill, which has barely moved in the past year. Bertha is stuck 60 feet below ground near South Main Street, along the waterfront.

So far no signs of damage have been found along the viaduct and it is still considered safe to drive on. Specific details, however, have been hard to come by. That's nothing new for Seattleites when it comes to Bertha. No details but plenty of delays.
· New delay in Bertha rescue: Viaduct settling is uneven, risky [ST]
· Happy Bertha-day? The frustrating year since the tunneling turned to waiting [CC]
· Bertha timetable to resume drilling delayed again [MyN]
· All Bertha coverage [CS]