SEATTLE — The Washington State Department of Transportation will receive approximately $77 million due to the late completion of the SR 99 tunnel in Seattle.
The Supreme Court of Washington denied a request from contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners to further review a 2019 jury judgment that awarded the state $57.2 million.
The state will receive the judgment amount plus 12% interest from the appeal process, bringing the total to around $77 million.
The tunnel boring machine known as "Bertha" launched on July 30, 2013. It broke down in December 2013, and it was out for service for more than two years while it was repaired. State attorneys blamed the breakdown on improperly trained staff.
Seattle Tunnel Partners countered, suing the state and blaming a steel metal pipe for the damages. Tunnel Partners said the state never told the contractor that the pipe in the tunnel path was made of steel.
A judge sanctioned Seattle Tunnel Partners after the contractor lost or destroyed pieces of evidence in the lawsuit over project overruns.
In 2019, a jury delivered its verdict on the nine-week trial after deliberating for less than one day.
“The $77 million to be collected in connection with the Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel project represents an incredible effort to recoup funds on behalf of Washington taxpayers,” Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar said.
A separate case involving state claims for insurance coverage against its insurers for the costs linked to the repair and reinstatement of Bertha the boring machine is in appeals stage.