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Bertha now under Pike Place Market, halfway home

The tunnel boring machine is actually staying on schedule these days

People in Seattle have been conditioned to take positive news surrounding Bertha the tunnel boring machine with a grain of salmon-infused sea salt. However, the last couple months have shown us that when she’s not breaking down or causing the ground to collapse, she can actually make great time.

WSDOT announced Monday that Bertha has officially reached the halfway point on her journey to South Lake Union.

When the machine tunneled past Pike Place Market on Friday, Sept. 30, it pushed beyond the halfway mark of a 9,270-foot-tunnel that will lead to the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Bertha has now excavated over 4,635 feet of the eventual tunnel and most of that happened in the past five months. We won’t remind you what was going on in the previous two years before that.

Bertha now starts to curve away from the waterfront and head north until she hits the 90-foot-deep receiving pit near Thomas Street that will be her finish line. She remains on schedule (at least the latest schedule) for the tunnel to be completed and open to traffic by early 2019.