Two weeks. That's the given timeframe that the Alaskan Way Viaduct's closure, which started today, will list. However, it's probably a good idea to consider that as more of a guideline instead of hard fact, because much like everything involving Bertha, schedules are less important than safety.
WSDOT reitterated on Thursday that the viaduct "will be closed until it is safe for the public," which could very well extend past the two week window, especially if Bertha experiences one of her patented problems.
"The goal is we aren't going to open the viaduct until it is safe for the traveling public. The contractor tells us it will take about two weeks to get underneath the viaduct. If for some reason it was to go longer, we will continue to keep the viaduct closed," said Dave Sowers, WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct deputy program administrator.
As MyNorthwest notes, Bertha must dig about 27.5 feet per day in order to make it under all the way across in the two week timeframe. It's certainly a rate that's possible, however, there's always the possibility that changes in soil or unforeseen items in the ground could slow it down or stop it altogether.
While things have been running smoother for Bertha in the last few months, history tells us not to get too locked in to schedules when it comes to our tunnel drilling machine.
· WSDOT: Viaduct will not reopen until it is safe [K5]
· Seattle tunnel machine Bertha under tight schedule during viaduct closure [MyN]
· Know Your Seattle Commuting Alternatives During Viaduct Closure [CS]