Just before noon on Tuesday, Seattle watched with bated breath as Bertha, the tunnel-boring machine digging the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel, emerged from underground. The moment marked the end of nearly four years of worries, frustration, and delays around the controversial tunnel-digging project.
In case you missed it, though, or just want to relive the thrilling experience of watching a five-story-tall drill emerging from a hole in the ground, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) posted what they’re calling “the ultimate look at Bertha’s breakthrough.”
It’s a little more exciting than just watching a wall change bit by bit over the course of several hours, which is what those watching the live stream were treated to.
Instead, the video takes the biggest moments in the lead-up and cuts them together—so you don’t have to wait an hour in between water and soil softener cascading into the pit and actually seeing the cutterhead. Take a peek below.
While those outside the city might be scratching their heads at why this drill caused so much fascination, Seattle was in full Bertha fever this week. WSDOT says that around half a million people tuned into their live streams of the breakthrough. Even the Great Wheel, the Ferris wheel on Pier 57, was lit up in a Bertha motif for at least two nights.
Now that Bertha’s work is done, WSDOT crews still have to finish building the highway. WSDOT estimates the tunnel should be ready for traffic in early 2019—more than three years after the initial estimate of December 2015.