Bertha’s not even close to completely removed yet; the process could take months. But crews have been hard at work disassembling the 8,000-ton tunnel-boring machine over the past seven weeks or so in a pit to the north of what will become the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel.
The process moves slowly, so it would get a little boring watching the disassembly happen live. But sped up in a time-lapse video, it’s exciting—and a little satisfying—watching the machine come apart.
A video posted by the Washington State Department of Transportation on Thursday shows Seattle Tunnel Partners’s work dismantling the tunnel so far, covering well over a month in less than a minute. (And with crews working on the machine six days a week and 20 hours a day, that’s a lot of work to cover.)
WSDOT says that Bertha’s entire upper shield is now gone, and most of the cutterhead spokes. What’s left, and, without the shield, what’s visible in the video below, per WSDOT, is “work-deck platforms, hydraulic systems, hyperbaric equipment and ring-building equipment.”
Take a minute-long peek at the massive State Route 99 tunneling machine coming apart—and the guts inside—below.
Seattle Tunnel Partners expects disassembly to continue throughout the summer.
Bertha officially finished the length of the two-mile tunnel, which will take cars past downtown along State Route 99, on April 4. That was a few years behind the original schedule, which estimated the tunnel would open in December 2015.
An adjacent bridge that will carry cars past the tunnel and into downtown was completed in late May.
Current project estimates have the tunnel opening for traffic in early 2019.
- June 15 project update: New time-lapse video shows tunneling machine disassembly [WSDOT]
- Bertha’s disassembly has begun: Watch the first piece leaving the pit [CS]
- WSDOT finishes earthquake-flexible Highway 99 bridge [CS]
- Bertha breaks through: Watch the tunnel boring machine’s cutterhead emerge [CS]