Starting pit ready for Seattle boring machine

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SEATTLE — Bertha's bed is ready.

Seattle Tunnel Partners finished building a pit -- 80 feet deep and 400 feet long -- that will serve as the launch pad for a huge boring machine called Bertha.

The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reports the 7,000-ton machine that arrived in pieces aboard a ship from Japan is being reassembled in the pit.

Drilling on a two-mile Highway 99 tunnel under downtown Seattle starts this summer. The tunnel is expected to open in 2015, allowing the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.