Seattle Tunnel Delays

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is hesitant to announce a new completion date for the Seattle underground tunnel.  The replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct has run into issues as the digging machine, nicknamed Bertha, has broken down.  Workers are trying to dig around the machine to access it for repairs.

WSDOT will not give an expected finishing date for the project because it is still in the early stages of construction.  The most recent completion date was November 2016, but contractors say it will be closer to August 2017 before traffic can use the new tunnel. 

Bertha is about 120 feet below the surface.  Crews are digging down to it, now reaching about 90 feet down.  The excavation was slow as workers had to ensure the soil was stable in the area.  A large crane is expected to pull out the machine for repairs.