Timeline: Bertha's Two-Year Nightmare Before Christmas

And Why It Will Be a Miracle If the Tunnel Boring Machine Restarts by December 23

Comments

1
First two words of this article: "Almost exactly." Ugh.
2
When she gets going again, the real test will begin. I hope it's this month, I just want to see what happens! If she breaks one more time, it's all over. I think everyone will acknowledge that, except for maybe the parties involved in the project, obviously. But if she gets going and actually makes it through this time...
3
And, like clockwork, the Stranger starts up with it's non-reporting reporting on Bertha.

Stick to the issues your organization has the knowledge and budget to cover, guys.
4
how is the testing going, anyway?
5
Group: if you need a laugh today, click @3's name and read his history of comments about the tunnel project.

Short version: he consistently hates the way the Stranger staff has been reporting on it. Bonus hate: everything else the Stranger reports on.

We get it, dude. Message received. Move on.
6
Of course the article doesn't really explain why it will be a miracle if Bertha starts boring again.

She then describest Bertha restarting on December 23rd as "suddenly". There is nothing sudden about it. It has taken thousands of man hours re-engineering and rebuilding Bertha. She is undergoing testing and will continue testing up until she is restarted.

While Bertha's history has been troubled the history of tunnel boring is marked by overcoming problems and eventual success.There really is no reason to expect anything less from Bertha.

7
Yeah, I'm bummed at how quickly this publication has gone downhill. When I first moved to Seattle 10+ years ago, I really enjoyed reading it. In the past few years, starting right around McGinn's first run for mayor, everything started to go to shit. Their "reporting" on Bertha is one of the biggest examples of how this once relevant paper has slid into terminal decline. Never mind the rapid fire departure of most of their top talent.

The Stranger is into advocacy journalism. I get that, even if it's not my preferred style. But if you want to be taken seriously, you need to take the time and money to really dig into the relevant issues. Keck is a cheapass and has apparently decided he'd rather make money being the Fox News of the left wing.

That's depressing.

8
There is no do.

There is only Epic Fail.

Try not, it is an unworkable non-solution that has always been a boondoggle hoisted on Seattle against our wishes, fed by lies, and accomplishing nothing.

We could have built a county wide monorail with minimalist Japanese platforms for the $ wasted. And then used the remainder to build bike and pedestrian bridges.
9
And if Will is on your side: automatic fail.
10
not familiar with Stranger but I think its an accurate timeline assessment of events presented in a manner which most readers should be able to comprehend.
11
Let's hope there aren't any more steel pipes in the next 8,000 feet of boring. Or discarded steam engines from 100 years ago. Or glacial boulders. Or really anything other than soft dirt.
12
It's pretty shocking to see what a rust bucket Bertha became after only 1,000 feet of drilling.
15
@12 After only 1,000 feet? Don't you mean after sitting underground for two years?
16
Actually, they look that way very quickly. The paint disappears fast pushinng across abrasive soil under double or triple normal barometric pressure. Add in also how wet those soils are, it's easy to understand how all that surface rust accumulates.
17
"The history of tunnel boring is marked by overcoming problems and eventual success.There really is no reason to expect anything less from Bertha," ass-kissing acbytesla twitters. Bertha breaking down was the miracle, perhaps not coincidentally near exactly where north of Jackson on route was predicted as the 'point of no return with exponential damage potential' early in 2013.
ACbytesla drinks from rose colored glasses.
Plan B for Bertha on record at Wsdot.
There is a Plan B. This is it.
Seattlers. Meh.
18
If they can get it started again, I'm sure it will get just far enough to argue they have to finish whatever the cost. Two years wasn't enough time to compare the tunnel and surface option on cost and ability to finish? Makes sense to make sure to keep the legal options open, but not at the exclusion of re-evaluating whether the tunnel will be finished. Having lived in Boston during the big dig, I hope they leveraged some learning from that project.
19
Um, hooray, people are paying attention to me...?
@BerthaDeBlues
20
It's not rose colored glasses Wells. It comes with taking the time to read more than the newspaper. I know from reading about the countless tunnel projects that have taken place around the world. You would to if you did the research and stop with the chicken little.

I suspect that one of us will be saying "I told you so" History is overwhelmingly on my side. But hey, bad things occasionally do happen. Maybe the sky will fall.
21
If ACbytesla actually gains confidence after reading more than newspaper reports as do most of us, why should support be sycophantic, with so little doubt nor question?

The most specific differences between Bertha and most big bore tunnel projects is this: In Seattle, nearby buildings above the bore, its entire length, are made vulnerable to damage in all soil conditions, and, traffic management is arguably more chaotic without Lower Belltown access.

ACbytesla does not address these important regards yet continues posting usual smart alec haughty confidence. I say we hang him if proven incorrect in the predicted worst case scenario. Think about THAT. What if you're wrong? What then? Death all around and ACbyTesla standing around, dumb look on face. "Who would've thought they'd use airplanes as missles," entoned ms condoleeza, and there followed suit miscreant mistakes like slashing NewOrleans levy maintenance funds and nevermind.

22
Nonsense Wells. Soil conditions in Seattle are not vastly different than they are in many locations around the world. Earth pressure balance tunneling technique is designed specifically to deal with these kinds of soils. The biigest issues with soil is before Bertha reaches the viaduct because of the loose fill,. The soil from that point forward are much easier to contend with being compacted glacial till and clay, perfect for EPB tunneling as we have seen from the Sound Transit TBMs.

Any concerns that I have are with how Bertha is constructed and the scaling issues involved in a TBM this large. Bertha was flexing too much. Did they solve those problems by the redesign of the front end? Hitachi Zosen is probably the most advanced company in the world when it comes to EPB tunneling so they should have the expertise. Still Bertha is the biggest TBM ever built and it presents issues that may be different than those with smaller TBMs.

There is no question that this project to has risk, but that's true about every tunneling project.All that can be done to minimize those risks have been and are being done. Hitachi probably bet the company on this. The whole tunneling industry is watching this project closely.Success and other cities will consider MegaTBMS for similar projects, failure sets the industry back.

I'm cautiously optimistic. As opposed to your desire to see it fail.

23
First off, stop writing such long comments. They are boring and unacceptable. Your personality is probably the same. Secondly, did any of the Stranger's current staff work there when they were writing extremely detailed and brilliant articles warning us of all the crap thats happened with that shocking tunnel. I remember a hideous old witchy bitch columnist for the Seattle Times insulting those against the tunnel.
There was a vote with 3 choices: surface road, new viaduct, or tunnel. SURFACE ROAD WAS THE WINNER, but then the haggish freak woman
wrote about helping yo organize a new election where the people "wised up and voted gor the tunnel
24
First off, stop writing such long comments. They are boring and unacceptable. Your personality is probably the same. Secondly, did any of the Stranger's current staff work there when they were writing extremely detailed and brilliant articles warning us of all the crap thats happened with that shocking tunnel. I remember a hideous old witchy bitch columnist for the Seattle Times insulting those against the tunnel.
There was a vote with 3 choices: surface road, new viaduct, or tunnel. SURFACE ROAD WAS THE WINNER, but then the haggish freak woman
wrote about helping yo organize a new election where the people "wised up and voted for the tunnel" also, she wrote a column suggesting tunnel critics need not vote, because its just symbolic. Tunnel was a done deal. so, of course
it won. She seemed to be a daffy, neoliberal, tennis shoe-mom wannabe, probably lonely and fell in love with the tunnel. Perhaps she was attracted to tunnels
25
I have yet to read anything in the Stranger on the tunnel that is balanced. But frankly, I don't care about the politics that went into deciding on the deep bore tunnel option. It isn't about what we could or should have done but the best way of proceeding.now.

Probably 200 million dollars has been spent on engineering everything from the careful removal to the redesign and repair to the relaunch of Bertha in a couple of weeks.The idea that we don't proceed now is ludicrous and reeks of timidity.
27
fuck yeah! Janette Tcoy! i really want to munch upon your flesh.
28
Time to put Bertha back in her original box and ship her back to Asia.

Meanwhile the Viaduct that Governor Gregoire promised to tear down by 2012 is only 9 out of 100 on safety (STP WSDOT today). Tear that down now. It is unsafe. Period.