The photo shows the main bearing for Bertha encircled by the gear ring that facilitates rotation of the cutterhead.
The tunnel-boring machine Bertha, already idle now for more than 20 months, is now expected to need until November 23 to begin work again, three months later than was projected last March.
Surprised? Perhaps not. It's the fourth official delay for the $3 billion Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.
The underground 99 Highway is now scheduled to open in March of 2018, two years and three months behind schedule.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) released the revised schedule early Friday morning. Contractor group Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), which is responsible for most of the tunnel operations on Seattle’s waterfront, delivered the plan to WSDOT last week. While STP’s Project Manager Chris Dixon said he has confidence in the new schedule, WSDOT said it has not verified the schedule and stopped just short of questioning the projected resumption of work.
Prior to a press briefing with Dixon and WSDOT's Todd Trepanier, and for reasons that were not entirely clear, WSDOT provided a tour Friday of the south entrance to the future highway and the beginnings of the tunnel. Crews continue to work on the “cut and cover” portion of the highway: a 1,500-foot strip of road that is excavated and then covered, not bored. Additionally, crews have constructed 432 feet of what will be the upper level, southbound road inside the tunnel.