Giant front end of broken Seattle tunneling machine is lifted from the ground for repairs


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SEATTLE — Crews have lifted the scuffed and rusty disc-shaped front end of the broken tunnel-boring machine called Bertha from the ground in Seattle, hauling it out of a 120-foot-deep pit so it can be repaired.

The Seattle Times reports ( ) the process seemed to go smoothly, with the 2,000-ton machine segment emerging from the ground Monday.

A Washington state Transportation Department official, Matt Preedy, praised the Dutch lift company involved, as well as contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners and machine maker Hitachi for devising a good lifting plan and carrying it out.

Bertha broke down in December as it worked to build a tunnel under Seattle to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct -- damaged in a 2001 earthquake. The contractor hopes to start drilling again in August.

Information from: The Seattle Times,

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