‘Months’ before Seattle tunneling can resume

SEATTLE — The state Transportation Department said it will be months before the huge machine boring a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle starts moving again.

The department and its contractor expect to learn by the end of the month what it will take to repair damaged seals. When they know how long it will take to make repairs, they’ll come out with a new schedule.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, program Deputy Administrator Matt Preedy said it would be months.

Preedy said there are no plans to scrap the tunnel and it’s the “most expedient way” to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The machine called Bertha has been stalled since the first week of December. It’s completed about 1,000 feet of a 1.7 mile tunnel to carry Highway 99 traffic.

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