Closer to knowing what’s blocking Seattle tunnel



SEATTLE — The contractors drilling a tunnel under downtown Seattle are closer to finding out what has blocked their boring machine.

A spokeswoman, KaDeena Yerkan, says wells have been pumping out water so that workers should be able to look at the front of the machine by Friday or Saturday.

Tunneling was stopped Dec. 7 by a mysterious obstruction.

The machine called Bertha is about 60 feet under Seattle streets and about one-tenth of the way toward completing a 1.7-mile tunnel. It will carry Highway 99 traffic and allow the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct on the waterfront.

Yerkan says it’s too early to know how the drilling delay will affect the project cost and schedule.