Will Bertha the tunnel boring machine ever reach her destination? It's hard to know for sure and, so far, it hasn't looked good. So while a lot of Seattleites hope for the best, you also can't help but keep wondering...what if she doesn't? What then? There's been a lot of jokey answers to that question but the folks behind Born Again Bertha have sat down and come up with an idea that's no joke. Or maybe it is?
The idea? Turn Bertha's launch pit, rescue pit and the 1,000-foot-long tunnel into a wealth of community opportunities that include a waterfront community center with a "K-8 advanced arts and sciences school," 200-seat performing arts theater, gym, natatorium, skate park, performance venue and community hall. The entire underground setup would be reachable by Bubbleator, a bubble-shaped hydraulic elevator with transparent acrylic glass walls built for the 1962 World's Fair.
Bertha's launch pit would become a series of tennis courts as well as a playground with boulders and rock-climbing walls. The massive red gantry crane that was used to get Bertha into her repair pit would become an intensive ropes course. Up top, plans call for a new park, farmers market and monorail connection to downtown Seattle.
The total cost for all of these changes? $134M, not including the monorail extension and destruction of the Viaduct. No one official seems to be taking credit for the plans, which are also on display in Occidental Mall and the contact info refers you to B.K. Landes, as in the actual Bertha.
While this all sounds like a bunch of pipe dreams, it's certainly reminds Seattle to keep thinking about the potential under our feet while we wait to find out if Bertha ever reaches hers.
· Born After Bertha [BAB]
· Mysterious sign details Plan B for 'Born Again Bertha' [DJC]
· All Bertha coverage [CS]