Tunnel boring machine resumes digging in Seattle

SEATTLE — The world’s largest tunnel boring machine has resumed digging its way under downtown Seattle.

Transportation Department spokeswoman KaDeena Yerkan said that worked resumed at 4:48 a.m. Monday, after being shut down since Aug. 20 by a labor dispute. The Longshore union had put up a picket line in a dispute with another union over four jobs moving excavated dirt.

Yerkan said operators have some options for making up the lost time.

The tunnel project is part of the state’s overall $3.1 billion plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the double deck highway along the downtown Seattle waterfront.

The $80 million machine known as Bertha began digging July 30 on a nearly 2-mile tunnel expected to take 14 months. The 58-foot diameter tunnel is scheduled to open in late 2015.

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