ROADS/BRIDGES: Bertha creeps closer to busting out of vault for inspections

Bertha will soon enter the next phase of the Alaskan Way Viaduct project once it busts through a concrete vaults for inspections

January 05, 2016

The newly repaired tunnel boring machine for the Alaskan Way Viaduct project, churned its way through 6 ½ ft of an approximately 15-ft-thick concrete wall. The machine is expected to complete the job this week, bringing it to the next phase of the project.

Bertha’s most recent progress allowed it to fasten the 161st ring of the future four-lane tube. To date, the machine has traveled 1,098 of the 9,270-foot route from Sodo to South Lake Union, Wash.

Seattle Tunnel Partners expects the Alaskan Way Viaduct project to be complete by April 2018, 27 months later than the original completion date contractors provided in their $1.35 billion contract.

The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is warning travelers to prepare for weeks of construction blocks and detours along Highway 99 between January and March. Bus passengers and drivers will experience a two-week closure of the viaduct in March when the machine undergoes inspections.

Government agencies have not yet published a plan for car detours, temporary bus lanes, parking restrictions or other means to control traffic. The shutdown will allow STP to measure soil removal more accurately and allow quick access if contractors need to inject grout to stabilize the soil.