Bertha, the broken, $80 million tunnel boring machine that’s been stuck on the Seattle waterfront for nearly two years, will begin reassembly in a rescue pit two weeks behind schedule.
Typical? Hoo boy. In July, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced that the Bertha tunnel’s new completion date would be March 2018, a full 27 months later than the tunnel’s original schedule.
More from WSDOT, which posted an update this afternoon:
Crews from Mammoet, the firm that built and operates the Modular Lift Tower, will begin running tests of the crane as soon as next week. Once the MLT and the machine are ready, Mammoet will use the crane to reassemble the machine’s front end at the surface. This will set the stage for the big lift into the pit, which will be similar to the retrieval lift that occurred in March.
According to Seattle Tunnel Partners’ most recent schedule, lowering the machine’s cutter drive unit into the pit was supposed to take place on August 8. Restarting the tunnel drive, which still has more than 8,100 feet to chew through, is still set for late November.
Well, at least we now have an extra two weeks to keep speculating on the various costs—and potential overruns—associated with continued delays on the world’s biggest tunneling machine project. Oh, the lazy days of summer.