Saturday/ Big Bertha is ready

Big Bertha the tunnel borer is ready to start her duties here in Seattle, and there was a dedication ceremony today that Bryan and I attended.  The borer is very big, the biggest in the world, and built in Osaka, Japan by Hitachi’s heavy construction division.  Check out the excellent write-up by gizmodo that also shows in an animation how the digging, earth removal and tunnel construction works.

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Bertha the big tunnel borer is ready to start with the boring of the 2-mile tunnel.
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The structure on the right is the Alaskan Way Viaduct, now deemed unsafe because of damage it suffered during the 2001 Nisqually earthquake. The Viaduct will be dismantled once the tunnel has been completed.
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There were several food trucks around for ‘noshing’.
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Governor Jay Inslee and Congressman Jim McDermott were in attendance at the Bertha dedication ceremony.
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Finally, we were allowed to step onto the platforms that overlooked the tunnel boring pit with the boring machine in place (that was not ‘boring’ but exciting). The front, cutting face of the machine is on the far end from me towards downtown Seattle.
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A first peek from the side ..
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.. and for this picture I had to stretch out my arm over the rail and let the camera take a look for me into the boring pit. Those stickers on the green surface of the boring face are nice for now, but will last about three minutes once the boring starts !

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