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Pioneer Square Buildings Sinking, Bertha to Blame?

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Photo: Cliff/Wikimedia

In a way, we're starting to feel a little bad for Bertha. She really is just trying to help the city of Seattle. Unfortunately, she seems to be doing way more harm than good. First came news that her seemingly never-ending delay appears to be getting longer over concerns that the Alaskan Way Viaduct was sinking unevenly. Now comes news that roughly 30 Pioneer Square buildings have sunk about an inch and the dig to rescue the stuck tunnel boring machine might be at fault.

Groundwater pumping beneath stranded tunnel-boring machine Bertha, from wells as deep as 185 feet, is the suspected cause of the troubling soil settlement. The affected area runs from Yesler Way to King Street, and from Alaskan Way to First Avenue South, said Trepanier.

Since nothing seems to be going right on the tunnel project, state and city transportation officials met with the city council on Monday to discuss concerns. Department of Transportation engineer Tim Moore told the council that he "95 percent" sure the viaduct would remain standing until the tunnel dig was over. Of course that begs the question, what about that other 5%? The fun continues...
· Is Bertha's pit affecting Pioneer Square buildings? [ST]
· Seattle council members inundate tunnel officials with questions [PSBJ]
· As Bertha's Big Delay Turns One Years Old, It Gets Longer [CS]
· All Bertha coverage [CS]