The broken tunnel boring machine started moving again last night—the first time Bertha's budged since December of 2013. By 7 a.m. today, the machine had bored three feet into a 20-foot concrete wall, the Washington State Department of Transportation reports.
That said, WSDOT doesn't seem so certain the machine will be able to finish the job. It's believed to have a broken main bearing and seal array, and the whole thing is in danger of overheating. (Which potentially means lots of stops and starts.) If Bertha can't make it all the way through the wall, the contractor will have to jackhammer a hole in from the other side. Keep in mind that dewatering is also going to continue throughout this whole process, and WSDOT recently announced new viaduct settlement last Friday. The rescue pit Bertha's drilling toward is located 20 feet away from the nearest viaduct bent. And with all that rumbling... ?
So, no, this "good" Bertha news doesn't do much to ease the collective Stranger viaduct panic attack that we turned into a feature this week. We're chewing our nails down to the nubs over here.
Meanwhile, you can see from the VERY EXCITING footage below that Seattle Tunnel Partners is already poking out a circle from the inside of Bertha's rescue pit that'll make it easier for the machine to be dislodged. On a completely unrelated note: Why is this making me hungry? That concrete looks like it's got the consistency of weird brownie batter. (And on a definitely related note: If Bertha can't eat her concrete, she can't have any pudding!)