The cutter head had been designed to be thicker than past cutter heads to make it possible to replace cutters more easily during the dig, a specification STP had requested. Since neither the Washington State Department of Transportation nor STP agreed to speak to Seattle Business, our story depended heavily on Hitachi’s perspective. This is big news if you've been following Bertha's problems the last few years. All Rights Reserved. Bertha was a 57.5-foot-diameter (17.5 m) tunnel boring machine built specifically for the Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project in Seattle, Washington, United States. VIADUCT CRACKS SIGNAL STATE RACE AGAINST TIME. Dear City of Seattle Councilmembers, Looks like Big Bertha news hit the paper again. Sometime the following morning, on Wednesday, December 4, the operators began seeing 3- to 4-foot pieces of pipe and a bunch of smaller pieces showing up on the video feed of the conveyor belt. To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. With the machine completely gone, that work can continue uninterrupted along the 9,270-foot tunnel Bertha dug beneath Seattle. Other uses. It just broken through an access repair tunnel and has since mined 73 feet since December 22. The issue was quickly resolved and Bertha continued on its way. This story follows our feature story, "Spin Zone," which appeared in the October 2017 issue of Seattle Business magazine. In an odd turn of events, WSDOT is making a dangerous bet by siding with the insurers against STP and Hitachi, thereby potentially forgoing the $80 million that would otherwise help pay for the delays. “[Bertha] was no Datsun,” said a worker we’ll call Jim, who had worked as a boring machine operator at multiple tunneling companies for several decades. Tagged: ‘Bertha’, the world’s largest tunneling machine to date, arrived in Seattle’s Elliott Bay yesterday, April 2, following a 5,000 mile journey from Hitachi Zosen’s Sakai Works factory, in Osaka, Japan. STP knew Bertha was still under warranty until it completed 200 rings. © 2020 Condé Nast. Video Ep: 395 - Dr. Alan Hocknell Takes Your Questions on the New Big Bertha B21 Family . No surprise, that'll take several months. Sometime that day, Jim and Paul aren’t sure exactly when, water started to collect in front of Bertha. The $2 billion Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement in Seattle is now slated to open in early 2019, fully three years behind schedule. (Dismemberment beats being buried alive: After a 200-ton tunneling machine finished its work under New York City, workers abandoned it instead of hauling it back up. But after Bertha is no longer in Seattle, there is more than a year’s worth of work left in its 9,270-foot-long wake. The first case, which will come to trial in King County in October, is between STP, which sued its insurers for $80 million it believed it was due on an insurance policy for which it paid a $25 million premium, and the insurers, who countersued STP and Hitachi, claiming the two had conspired to blame the steel well casing for the damage to Bertha even though they knew that wasn’t true. “When you hit something hard, usually there is a spike in the readings,” says Paul. It is the essential source of information and ideas that make sense of a world in constant transformation. By December 2013, Bertha had left those issues behind it. Some argued that Bertha, at the time the largest boring machine ever made, had been badly designed and was too unwieldy to control. Bertha's job was supposed to take two and a half years, but in December 2013, disaster struck: After just 1,000 feet of work, temperature spikes inside the machine set alarm bells ringing, and Bertha had to stop. Here’s what happened based on their accounts: Operating the machine was a stressful job that required full concentration. Investigation later revealed that its seals and bearings had been damaged from overheating. Big Bertha (lunar sample), the third largest lunar rock collected by the Apollo program during Apollo 14 Bertha Heyman, a.k.a. New photos capture massive scale of Seattle tunnel project as Bertha creeps along by Kurt Schlosser on March 22, 2016 at 10:48 am March 22, 2016 at 10:48 am Comments 3 Share 1 Tweet Share Reddit Email “Isn’t that power or what?” Magro wrote, punctuating his email with a smiley-face. Either way, if STP had stopped Bertha, replaced the broken cutters and cleared the goop that had collected in the cutter head, the machine might well have been able to continue on its way with a delay of a few weeks at most. "Big Bertha", a 19th-century criminal; Big Bertha (cow), a cow that broke two Guinness World Records, for being both the oldest and having the most offspring Big Bertha (golf club), a line of golf clubs from Callaway Golf ), Inside the ‘Tunnel’ Elon Musk Is Already Digging Under Los Angeles, Yes, a ‘Submerged Floating Bridge’ Is a Reasonable Way to Cross a Fjord, How to Break Apart London’s 1,000-Ton Tunneling Machine. Yesterday, Bertha's cutter head was extracted from the ground for repairs… Bertha’s in heavy rotation (above): A giant red crane slowly rotates the SR 99 tunneling machine’s front end from a horizontal to a vertical position as it is lowered into the access pit on Aug. 24, 2015, two years after the incident occurred. Officially designated as the 42-cm kurze Marinekanone 14 L/12 in Räderlafette (“42-cm short naval canon 14 L/12 on wheeled carriage”), the gun was Clearly, there were serious problems. Hitachi argued that the problems were caused by a combination of things, a kind of perfect storm that included Bertha’s running into the steel well casing as well as operating errors by STP. If the STP operators insisted on pushing the machine beyond what its specs called for, and against the advice of the Japanese engineer, the engineer felt he was in no position to stop them. We had hit steel, we had hit boulders. Instead, the severe damage to the machine meant STP had to build a costly concrete pit to remove the cutter head and undertake substantial repairs that would result in a two-year delay. Now construction crews have to finish a double deck highway inside the 60-foot diameter tube, complete with lighting, ventilation, and fire detection systems. Let’s talk tech & specs! It was made by Hitachi Zosen Sakai Works in Osaka, Japan, and the machine's assembly was completed in Seattle in June 2013. 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