Still no definitive answer on what stopped Bertha

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 24, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 24 at 6:21 PM

After several days of underground inspections of Bertha, the giant tunnel boring machine, the state hasn't offered answers about what caused Bertha to stop moving forward.

Bertha has been stuck for a month and a half since hitting a metal pipe in early December.  But, WSDOT and the contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, will not speculate on what is blocking the machine.

"It's not a real simple thing to come to a snap judgment or assessment on an $80 million machine that is 80 feet underground." said Matt Preedy, with WSDOT.

Workers have spent nearly 86 hours on specialized hyperbaric inspections, replaced 44 cutters, and retrieved some metal, plastic and concrete from the cutter heads.

Work continues at the site, where the state has hired a team of experts to oversee the investigation of the Bertha stoppage.

Preedy has an optimistic view of the problem.

"Pretty much any problem you can come up with can be fixed underground. It's just a matter of what it is and how much time."

Those are exactly the questions that taxpayers are asking.

 

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