The Elephant in the Room: Is Bertha toast?

Host Steve Scher heads down to Pioneer Square's Zeitgeist Coffee to talk with Crosscut's Knute Berger and Matt Fikse-Verkerk about the fate of our stalled tunnel boring machine.

Crosscut archive image.

Bertha's cutter-boring machine when it was being brought to Seattle in 2013.

Host Steve Scher heads down to Pioneer Square's Zeitgeist Coffee to talk with Crosscut's Knute Berger and Matt Fikse-Verkerk about the fate of our stalled tunnel boring machine.

Crosscut archive image.
Seattle's multi-billion dollar Viaduct replacement tunnel is in trouble — and has been, for a year. The shaky waterfront portion of Highway 99 has been settling into the loose soil beneath it. Buildings and streets above the new tunnel have sunk as well, and cracks have opened up in some streets and foundations in Pioneer Square.

Digging the deep shaft that will give workers access to our tunneling machine's damaged drill head may be making things worse. At best, the complex task figures to delay the tunnel's opening by nine months, pushing it back to August 2107.

So how close is this monster tunneling project to the land of boondoggle? Can Bertha be reached (safely) and repaired?

Crosscut contributors — and Bertha afficionadoes —  Matt Fikse-Verkerk and Knute Berger joined Steve Scher at Zeitgeist Coffee in Pioneer Square, just blocks from the troubled project, to ask: Is Bertha toast?

(A transcript of this Elephant in the Room podcast will be available soon.)



 

Bertha photo courtesy of WSDOT. To listen to other Elephant in the Room podcasts go here. For all Crosscut's coverage of Bertha, go here.

  

Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.

Donate

About the Authors & Contributors

Steve Scher

Steve Scher

Steve Scher, former host of KUOW-FM's Weekday, is currently a Scholar in Residence at Town Hall and host of Crosscut's "Elephant in the Room" podcast.