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Friday, January 3, 2014

Tunnel Digger Stuck Due to State Error, More Metal Objects Obstructing Path

Posted by on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Originally posted at 2:50 p.m. and moved up with details.

Bertha, the world's largest tunnel boring machine, has an increasingly dire prognosis after officials discovered yesterday that she had struck an eight-inch-diameter, 119-foot-long steel pipe last month that brought the 57-foot wide behemoth to a halt and caused severe damage to the machine's cutterhead. But that's just the beginning of the troubles for the state megaproject: The steel pipe was placed there by a state-hired contractor for water-well tests in 2002 related to the highway project but was not removed as it should have been, officials from the state and tunneling company revealed at a press conference this afternoon, thereby ultimately placing fault with the state for leaving the object behind and sending a tunneling machine into its path.

And that pipe may be only the beginning: Crews have since sampled the soil ahead of the stalled machine and discovered more likely metal obstructions in tunnel digger's path, which all must be somehow removed before Betha can move again.

"We have probed 12 holes and encountered other obstructions in six of those holes," said Chris Dixon, the program manager for Seattle Tunneling Partners, which has a billion-dollar contract with the state to dig the tunnel (his company is not the same contractor the state worked with in 2002 that installed the pipe). Those obstructions are not believed to be boulders or timber, he said, leading him to believe they are "metal objects." (WSDOT's website claims that out of 17 soil samples, officials found four obstructions.) The tunneling machine, which is designed to churn though soils and break boulders, cannot chew through metal.

This diagram provided by WSDOT shows a cross section of the tunnel-boring machines cutterhead, though which an eight-inch thick metal pipe has protruded through and damaged the blades.
  • WSDOT
  • This diagram provided by WSDOT.

"We need to remove the other pieces of metal so we do not cause further damage to the tunnel boring machine," said Matt Preedy, the state's deputy program administrator for the project. "We don't want to push the limit with this thing," he added, noting that the multi-million-dollar machine has completed about one-tenth of its route and must remain in working order. He said officials don't know "if the pipe is the only issue or one of several" and it would take "a little while to explore" the situation. He provided no timeline or specific strategy for removing the objects.

It's fair to say that this amounts to a colossal setback for the megaproject—one that many worried would become a boondoggle.

The deep-bore tunnel is the largest part of a $4.2 billion project to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a project that has been subject of controversy due to speculation of delays, unprecedentedly complicated logistics, cost overruns, and financing problems. Already a labor dispute delayed the project for a month, in addition to this latest month-long pause. Meanwhile, a contingency fund originally proposed at some $415 million was cut down to a fractional $40 million, shrinking the margins for affordable errors. The budget also requires $400 million in funding from tolling, but latest projections show the state may only collect about $165 million. All of these delays, costs, and revenue shortfalls raise red flags—particularly when just one-tenth of the tunnel has been dug—because state law prohibits spending an additional funds if the project runs over budget.

The state and Seattle Tunnel Partners refused to answer many key questions today: Reporters pressed them about the cost per day of delay, the estimated length of the delay, why, exactly, the metal pipe was not removed, what the other metal objects may be in Bertha's path, the nature of changes to contracts since digging began, or how many days of stalled operations the project can handle before running into delays and cost overruns. Officials stonewalled or feigned ignorance on the answers.

Trouble began on December 3, when Bertha first hit the vertical pipe, which was part of a water well that plummets some 100 feet below the surface, but Bertha plowed through it anyway. Two days later, the machine was too belabored to proceed. "We did not know the pipe was there," explained Dixon. "Tunnel boring machines do not interact well with metal," he continued. "The cutterheads cannot cut steel. The fact that it performed well for two days [after first hitting the pipe] gave us a false sense of security."

Grinding through the metal with its six-story-high rotating head of gnashing blades, the cutterhead sustained "unusual damage" to many of those cutting tools, said Dixon. He added that it takes several hours to replace each tool and "the device has hundreds of tools."

Dixon pointed out the pipe, a metal well shaft, was an unexpected obstacle because such objects are "usually... decommissioned from the ground."

Speaking for the state, which was ultimately responsible for removing the pipe, Preedy said it was "placed there for a preliminary exploration" by a state-hired contractor in 2002 early on during the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project. "The location of the well [pipe] was described in certain documents," Preedy said. But as to contracts to remove that pipe and whether the state would incur contractual liability for failing to remove it, he said, "We don't want to talk about contracts."

 

Comments (87) RSS

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theophrastus 1
doesn't some form of internet-masturbatory-blindness occur if one posts one's own tweet? ("only if one reddits one's posting of one's tweet" ...oh)

anyway, tunnel machine schadenfreude awwwwayyy!
Posted by theophrastus on January 3, 2014 at 3:02 PM · Report this
2
If only someone at WSDOT could have given WSDOT a map of the things WSDOT left behind that might be in the TBM's path when WSDOT started this tunneling endeavor!
Posted by sevenless on January 3, 2014 at 3:02 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 3
@1) Sorry, Paul actually assembled this post when I was on the phone with him, and then I activated it from my phone because I ran into wifi problems. I'll pull the tweet down when I post the update. Hang tight.
Posted by Dominic Holden on January 3, 2014 at 3:05 PM · Report this
4
#2. According to the WSDOT press release today, the location of the pipe was disclosed in the contract.

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct…

"This inspection showed an 8-inch-diameter steel pipe protruding through one of the many openings in the cutterhead. We believe the steel pipe is a well casing installed by WSDOT in 2002 after the 2001 Nisqually earthquake to better understand how groundwater flows through this area. The location of this pipe was included in reference materials in the contract."
Posted by drshort on January 3, 2014 at 3:07 PM · Report this
theophrastus 5
@3 s'ok with moi. i just couldn't resist the snark. proceed with all unbridled aplomb. (yet "Paul" (if that's his real name) should be given the "wild-n-wooly" Stranger chair for the week in punishment)
there is blame at the bottom of that pipe blocking the progress of that foul and egregious machine and it should be plumbed for its final juicy bit of vitriol, selah.
Posted by theophrastus on January 3, 2014 at 3:11 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 6
@4, if WSDOT told the tunnel company it was there to be avoided, that would seem to put the delay cost on the tunnel company that avoided it not. Hmm...
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on January 3, 2014 at 3:12 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 7
What we need is an even bigger, stronger drill, one capable of boring straight through Bertha and her obstructions. And if that one gets stuck, another one.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on January 3, 2014 at 3:13 PM · Report this
fletc3her 8
So, uh, take the pipe out.
Posted by fletc3her on January 3, 2014 at 3:13 PM · Report this
9
I don't understand how a 52 foot diameter TBM gets stopped by a 8 inch pipe. Shouldn't it chew right through it? Or know it out of the way?
Posted by drshort on January 3, 2014 at 3:14 PM · Report this
10
@9 the same way your garbage disposal gets stuck on a handful of celery.
Posted by wl on January 3, 2014 at 3:21 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 11
Makes me think of stories of surgeons leaving sponges and other surgical tools inside their patients when they sew up the sutures.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 3, 2014 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 12
@9: steel is way harder than rock. looks like a jerb for divers and torches.

props on the acronym.
Posted by Max Solomon on January 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM · Report this
Posted by MrBaker http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ on January 3, 2014 at 3:28 PM · Report this
14
Twitter joke!: "So you gagged on 8 inches of pipe."
Posted by floater on January 3, 2014 at 3:37 PM · Report this
15
@14, to be fair, the pipe was very hard and they sort of knew it was coming.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 3, 2014 at 3:47 PM · Report this
16
Let's back up a little bit.
The super cool, high tech, monster of a tunnel digging machine is thwarted by 8" steel pipe?
Posted by tacomagirl on January 3, 2014 at 3:56 PM · Report this
MrBaker 17
@16, more like, the contractor not knowing it was an 8 inch pipe that caused a delay.
Posted by MrBaker http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ on January 3, 2014 at 4:09 PM · Report this
Chef Thunder 18
I still think it's McGinn down there http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlaiBeLrn…
Posted by Chef Thunder on January 3, 2014 at 4:17 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 19
Which is the pipe Cthulhu is hiding in?
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 3, 2014 at 4:19 PM · Report this
Aaron 20
So this is a logistical error not an engineering error. And all the second guessers about how this could never work are... wrong. I'm looking forward to using the tunnel, and not seeing it when I am walking to the waterfront. Seattle wins.
Posted by Aaron on January 3, 2014 at 4:20 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 21
@16 for the There Will Be More, Brother (Lost) reference win
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 3, 2014 at 4:20 PM · Report this
CC-Rob 22
WSDOT needs to save face. Maybe they should re-release the video of the earthquake-viaduct simulation.
Posted by CC-Rob on January 3, 2014 at 4:22 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 23
I'd stop for 8" of pipe in my "excavation chamber" too...
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 3, 2014 at 4:25 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 24
Let's hear it for government efficiency.

I can't wait till we have a socialist society where the government can control every aspect of our lives.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on January 3, 2014 at 4:52 PM · Report this
Dougsf 25
Then let this be the first construction site in which the phrase "just lemme climb back there with a Sawzall for a second" goes unheard.

@24 - It appears the DOT did their part and the error is with the private contractor operating Bertha.
Posted by Dougsf on January 3, 2014 at 5:00 PM · Report this
seatackled 26
No one could have predicted this, but it doesn't matter. You bore a tunnel with the tunnel borer you have, not the tunnel borer you wish you had.
Posted by seatackled on January 3, 2014 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Baconcat 27
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhem. *clears throat*

WE TOLD YOU SO

*double birds*
Posted by Baconcat on January 3, 2014 at 5:19 PM · Report this
RhettOracle 28
This has all the hallmarks of Vietnam: You go in planning to win because you've never lost before; suddenly fortunes turn and you realize you're in a quagmire; so you continue to pour more bucks into a potential 'lost cause'; but it gets worse, but you would lose face if you admit defeat; so you continue blithely until you are in fact defeated; and you lose face and Bertha becomes eponymous with 'disastrous boondoggle'...as in the tunnel project turned into a Big Bertha.

Someone clarify: the article says the pipe is 8-inches thick and others say the pipe is 8 inches in diameter - big difference - like the difference between an artery and a capillary.
Posted by RhettOracle on January 3, 2014 at 5:21 PM · Report this
MrBaker 29
This is good news, it's the state's fault for the delay and potential cost overrun.
It looks like Ed Murray will have something more than the fact that it is a state road should there be any cost overruns, but a responsible party for the delay, the state.

I would prefer that there wasn't delay, but it is fortunate that we are able to have the responsible party admit responsibility.
Posted by MrBaker http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ on January 3, 2014 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 30
WSDOT left the pipes. WSDOT is building the tunnel now. WSDOT here. WSDOT there. Every time something goes down, this WSDOT is involved. Every clue leads back to this WSDOT.

What is WSDOT? Who is WSDOT? What to they want? What are they up to and what do they want from us? Why can't we shake WSDOT? When at last we open the final door and discover what's really going on here, what this whole thing was all about from the beginning, will we find WSDOT behind that door? Laughing?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on January 3, 2014 at 5:27 PM · Report this
31
WSDOT informed STP. STP ignored it, STP fail. STP blames everyone else. Nothing is ever STP's fault--see a pattern here? Private contractors=always good, everyone else=always bad.
Posted by hmmmmm on January 3, 2014 at 5:28 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 32
Dom,
I assume you meant to write:

“The steel pipe was placed there by the state as the result of water-well tests in 2002 but was not removed by a contractor as it should have been, officials from the state and tunneling company revealed at a press conference this afternoon, thereby placing fault with the contractor for leaving the object behind.”

There. Fixed.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 3, 2014 at 5:31 PM · Report this
fletc3her 34
Well, at least they ran the tunnel machine until all the cutting blades were damaged.
Posted by fletc3her on January 3, 2014 at 5:37 PM · Report this
35
@28. Yes, indeed, this is just like Vietnam.
Posted by M. Wells on January 3, 2014 at 5:43 PM · Report this
COMTE 36
I guess I'm having a little trouble parsing exactly how STP can be at fault. WSDOT originally drove the pipe & neglected to ensure it was removed properly. Even if STP was informed of it's location, it's not like they had a lot of choice in terms of avoiding it; I mean, doesn't Bertha have to follow a very precise path in order to avoid other underground obstructions AND prevent damage to surface structures? Could it really have veered as much as several tens of feet off that course without causing a whole slew of other problems?

This just sounds like WSDOT trying to stop the buck - before it gets to them.
Posted by COMTE on January 3, 2014 at 5:45 PM · Report this
37
@34: Exactly. That's the cherry on top of the clusterfuck. (Delicious.)
Posted by MLM on January 3, 2014 at 5:47 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 38
Oh, shit.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on January 3, 2014 at 5:49 PM · Report this
39
Charles should dig up the quotes from "The Walkable City" about the tunnel. (If he isn't already in the process thereof.)

Basically: "Great plan! Lose the tunnel!"
Posted by LMcGuff http://holyoutlaw.livejournal.com/ on January 3, 2014 at 5:51 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 40
"That hot bed of Democrat incompetence."

Oh yes, WSDOT is known far and wide as a hippy-dippy, let-the-sunshine-in, free-love sort of agency. They hate cars, which is the real reason why they let this happen. It's all a conspiracy.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay http://www.danlangdon.com on January 3, 2014 at 6:00 PM · Report this
sperifera 41
Now playing at a theatre near you: Big Dig, Part II

(really, I mean - Who could have seen this coming?)
Posted by sperifera on January 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 42
@28
This is not 'nam, it is tunnel drilling, there are rules.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on January 3, 2014 at 6:21 PM · Report this
43
FFS, can we shut down the useless fucking tunnel to no where already?
Naysayers 3
Google-eyed Pollyanna idjits 0
Posted by Pol Pot on January 3, 2014 at 6:36 PM · Report this
44
@20 - who are you, Mary Poppins? Glad you're so cheerful. Too many people do not know how much money gets churned up in these "problems." Bullshit, plain and simple.
Posted by westello on January 3, 2014 at 6:38 PM · Report this
Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 45
@28 Walter you asshole!!!! What the fuck does everything have to do with Vietnam?
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on January 3, 2014 at 6:38 PM · Report this
46
What I find most concerning is that they hit the pipe on December 3rd, may have noticed some odd metal bits in the exhausted dirt, and kept going for two days before things really got stuck. Then the WSDOT decided to get real cute about all of it and try to suggest glacial boulders and keep us all entertained while they actually investigated how much damage the thing made of a substance they knew they couldn't drill through had done.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 3, 2014 at 6:39 PM · Report this
Mahtli69 47
@42 Charlie dug tunnels too. Just sayin!
Posted by Mahtli69 on January 3, 2014 at 6:39 PM · Report this
48
Also, the earlier press releases had stressed that they were 1/8th of the way there and now we're only 1/10th. What sort of calculations would you expect from a group that just found a half dozen more obstructions to dig up though.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 3, 2014 at 6:42 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 49
@42
Well played
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on January 3, 2014 at 6:49 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 50
Jeezus fuckin' shit.

“The steel pipe was... not removed by a contractor as it should have been


I see this shit all the goddamn time. Contractors that say they'll do something, then cut another goddamn corner and don't do it, screwing up a future project.

Or contractors that do a goddamn shitty job, applying a thinner pavement overlay, or patching a cut with a thin patch. Anything to save one goddamn dollar right now, and fuck the future consequences because they won't have to deal with it.

Seriously, everyone saying it's WSDOT's fault: Fuck you all. There aren't enough inspectors in the State (or even the world) to watch every contractor and verify that every contract clause is met. And if there were, you Nancys would be bitching to high hell about the cost of paying for all those inspectors.

The State is left holding the bag because whatever goddamn fly-by-night slipshod contractor didn't remove that pipe has fled the state, declared bankruptcy, or hidden behind some shady LLC, or all of the above.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on January 3, 2014 at 6:50 PM · Report this
RhettOracle 51
@42 - I would like to see a list of those rules. There are rules for going to war as well which were conveniently ignored.
Posted by RhettOracle on January 3, 2014 at 6:50 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 53
@50

Hmmm... Yes. If only there were some way for the government to perform basic functions without the government having to hire a private company. Gives one pause, doesn't it?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on January 3, 2014 at 6:57 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 54
@50: That's why government projects can be inherently flawed when it must take the lowest bidder. Government needs to be a consumer just like the rest of us, evaluating products and services for the highest value for the expenditures.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on January 3, 2014 at 7:03 PM · Report this
TVDinner 55
Yo, Dom, I'm genuinely confused. As Dr. Awesome points out, early in the post you write that an earlier contractor was supposed to remove the pipe. But then at the end of the post you indicate that the state was responsible for "decommissioning" the pipe.

So is it that the state is ultimately responsible and the subcontractor didn't do their job? Is that what Preedy is referring to when he says he doesn't want to talk about contracts?

Confidential to WiS: jeezus h kee-rist the Cthulhu jokes are getting old.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 3, 2014 at 7:07 PM · Report this
Baconcat 56
Well, no worries if this causes an overrun, you guys! You all forget that Gregoire signed that Murray bill ending cost overrun provisions in response to a successful lawsuit that said that the state can't target specific cities for overruns in transportation projects. I mean, after city voters voted 60-40 to approve the tunnel it would be hard to argue to the MCC now that voters weren't okay with overruns and delays when they were informed of the risks in a heated campaign.

I'm glad Gregoire and Murray kept their promise. It'll save Seattle taxpayers a lot of money if this project incurs cost overruns or further delays.
Posted by Baconcat on January 3, 2014 at 7:33 PM · Report this
ralph 57
Da Nang '68. Charlie stuck a steel Pungi stick in the outhouse.
Posted by ralph on January 3, 2014 at 7:34 PM · Report this
58
Will someone at KIRO tell dorky munson to shut the fuck up about Big Bertha! He's the first one in line to criticize the City, the State anything to do with Govt. on issues that he knows nothing about. He's a has been, never was much of a newsperson, does O.K. at sports though. Go away, dorky, we don't want to hear your whiney voice anymore.
Posted by longwayhome on January 3, 2014 at 7:40 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 59
@ 49, talking to yourself? Better take a break from work and go shoot the shit out of something.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 3, 2014 at 7:44 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 60
@55) The issue as explained today was that a contractor (not Seattle Tunneling Partners) installed the pipe at the state's request in 2002. This was to conduct water tests early in the process to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The state-hired contractor did not remove it, and there is a case to be made that the contractor is to blame. But ultimately it is absolutely the state's responsibility to make sure it removed all the stuff it inserted into the dirt--by all of its employees, contractors and otherwise--before sending a tunnel-boring machine into its path. After all, according to Preedy, "The location of the well [pipe] was described in certain documents." I've updated the post to clarify.
Posted by Dominic Holden on January 3, 2014 at 7:45 PM · Report this
61
city voters voted 60-40 to approve the tunnel

When was that ?

http://your.kingcounty.gov/elections/200…
Poll Precincts Counted/Total Poll Precincts: 985 / 985 100.00%

City of Seattle Advisory Measure No. 1 **

YES, I PREFER THE SURFACE-TUNNEL HYBRID 45846 30.35%
NO, I DO NOT PREFER THE SURFACE-TUNNEL HYBRID 105194 69.65%

City of Seattle Advisory Measure No. 2 **

YES, I PREFER THE ELEVATED STRUCTURE ALTERNATIVE 65799 42.65%
NO, I DO NOT PREFER THE ELEVATED STRUCTURE ALTERNATIVE 88479 57.35%

Posted by ChefJoe on January 3, 2014 at 8:08 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 62
@59
Good plan Matt.

There's not enough snow to ski so I can probably 4x4 it up to the range.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on January 3, 2014 at 8:21 PM · Report this
MrBaker 63
Re 60, right, and therefore fault can be placed on the state, by Seattle, and make the state eat the costs separate from the funding allocated for the project.

An early Christmas present for Ed Murray. He has a clear cut path to put the responsibility of the associated delay and cost directly back on the state, by their own admission.

Pete Holmes probably should start making a case to the idea of it gets communicated to Olympia as early and as often as possible.
It's their road.
It's their pipe.
Posted by MrBaker http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ on January 3, 2014 at 8:33 PM · Report this
65
Dominic, it doesn't look like the tunnel contingency was reduced. That 40 million refers to the fraction of the overall 200 million contingency (which was, at the start of this mess, 450 million until they had the project's insurance covered by the contingency which brought it down to 200 million). pg 53
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct…
Posted by ChefJoe on January 3, 2014 at 9:02 PM · Report this
67
The state's expenditure for the tunnel is capped at $2.8 billion by law. WSDOT has no authority to spend any more unless the law is changed by the legislature. So it only matters whose fault this is if the legislature is persuaded by such arguments.
Posted by spock on January 3, 2014 at 9:46 PM · Report this
TVDinner 68
@60: Check! Thanks for the clarification.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 3, 2014 at 10:03 PM · Report this
69
@31 I'll betcha big money that the contract absolves STP of responsibility for hundreds of things we would consider the contractors responsibility. Why else would they agree to do something so utterly insane? Nobody risking their own money would take it on.
Posted by cracked on January 3, 2014 at 10:21 PM · Report this
70
MYSTERY SOLVED!!!!
Good news, its possible to solve this.
Bad news, I have a funny feeling that Bertha will never reach her landing bay. OK so that's not news, but still.
Posted by JonCracolici on January 3, 2014 at 10:27 PM · Report this
71
If the 8" diameter pipe messed up the cutting head on the bore, what can they do about that? That's fairly important.
Posted by sarah70 on January 3, 2014 at 10:44 PM · Report this
rob! 72
Pretty sure they can change out the cutting head from inside. They wear out occasionally just on standard fare of rocks and dirt.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on January 3, 2014 at 11:43 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 73
Hey, what's a few billions paid by under-$15 an hour workers between less than 8 percent federal tax paying billionaires and millionaires laughing their guts out friends?
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 3, 2014 at 11:47 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 74
@67 you are so ... naive.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 3, 2014 at 11:48 PM · Report this
75
@71 I'm sure if we get a few more people in here to complain about the project often enough, the pipe will just magically go away.
Posted by Solk512 on January 4, 2014 at 12:34 AM · Report this
76
@72, they can change out some teeth on the cutting head, but the whole cutting head (the rotating disc that holds those teeth) can't be changed without bringing much of the machine to the surface. If that's damaged, yikes.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 4, 2014 at 8:31 AM · Report this
rob! 77
Yeah, @76, I wasn't clear on that because midnight. In this pic the red and yellow parts are teeth/cutters that are replaceable from inside, and the big green disk is all one welded-up piece.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on January 4, 2014 at 10:01 AM · Report this
78
@50, Dr. Whorescum says,

And if there were, you Nancys would be bitching to high hell about the cost of paying for all those inspectors.

Sorry, Dr. Whorescum, but that is awfully misogynistic, dearie!

And yes, G-worker, The State is once again in the wrong.

And your homework assignment tonight, Whorescum, on those private contractors and privatization:

http://www.cio.com/article/602072/Don_t_…

http://www.inthepublicinterest.org/sites…

Posted by sgt_doom on January 4, 2014 at 10:23 AM · Report this
79
@67, your remarks contain not a speck (or spock) of logic!
Posted by sgt_doom on January 4, 2014 at 10:25 AM · Report this
80
@58, the purpose of Kiro, Dorky Munson, and all the other neocon crapola and faux crats like conservative David Ross, to do a bad job!

That's the entire point. Nothing of intelligence nor consequence will ever derive from that gang.

And doing a bad job is the purpose of all those professional, super-well-paid teleprompter readers of the CorporateMedia --- it is really that simple!
Posted by sgt_doom on January 4, 2014 at 10:28 AM · Report this
seatackled 81
@78

That was probably over a week ago. Maybe get over it?
Posted by seatackled on January 4, 2014 at 10:35 AM · Report this
82
For the best comment on this article today, I have to go with:

@30, Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/about/ExecOrgCha…
Posted by sgt_doom on January 4, 2014 at 10:36 AM · Report this
83
If the drill is designed to cut through boulders, why was everyone speculating (including the press) that a non-man made obstacle was involved? Why is public information about this so sketchy?
Posted by anon1256 on January 4, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Report this
85
@84
I'm not sure you said what you meant to say. Are you sure it can't cut through glacial erratics? Where did you come by that info?
An glacial erratic is not a type of rock, it is just a rock that doesn't fit in with its neighborhood and was brought there by a glacier. If bertha meets a boulder, that boulder would very likely be an erratic given how our region was made. And I'm not 100% on this, but I don't think bertha will have to dig through bedrock. In Seattle, bedrock is way way down there.
Posted by JonCracolici on January 4, 2014 at 3:58 PM · Report this
86
@ 84

The post we are commenting on claims that Bertha can "break boulders [but] cannot chew through metal". Cutting through boulder seems necessary for this job because large erratics are common in till around Seattle. If so, I don't understand the speculation going on in the press over the last month. Also, knowledge that it had to be metal could have been important in figuring out that job planners may have missed something like a buried pipe.
Posted by anon1256 on January 4, 2014 at 6:22 PM · Report this
87
@80 dorky and all his crew at KIRO are drama queens! The choices for radio are dwindling in Seattle. KOMO 4 is homophobic, racist and otherwise not to be trusted, KING 5 has a good weather dept. but all their help has applied for jobs elsewhere.
Posted by longwayhome on January 4, 2014 at 8:21 PM · Report this
88
This is pathetic. And they waited til late on Friday to drop the bombshell. Don't live in Seattle, so couldn't vote on it, but the whole tunnel project is a land grab to enrich developers.
Posted by hops on January 4, 2014 at 11:01 PM · Report this
90
@89 If you don't register you can't embed links.
Posted by cracked on January 5, 2014 at 8:15 AM · Report this
92
@90 I don't think readers are very likely to "google it". Most people don't read the unregistered posts because unregistered posters tend to be assholes, with some exceptions. You don't seem like one of the exceptions.
Posted by cracked on January 5, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
95
@72, 79: It is illogical to say someone is being illogical without saying what is illogical about what they said. Same thing for naïve.
Posted by spock on January 6, 2014 at 9:28 AM · Report this
96
Actually I have a better idea. All the people that supported this bullshit should pay for this. There were a lot of objections to this project. There were a lot of people raising just this scenario. They were all silenced by the business and property owner lobby downtown. They sure are quiet now that the very things that were reasons to not do this are becoming reality. Let's just dig up the people responsible for shoving this down all our throats.
Posted by Dozer on January 16, 2014 at 7:51 PM · Report this

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