Bertha is ready to start digging.
The world’s largest boring machine began drilling a nearly 2-mile highway tunnel underneath Seattle today. She won’t actually hit soil right away and will need to get through an 18-foot thick concrete headwall in the pit she’s been assembled in for the past two months.
Bertha just tweeted a photo of what “looks delicious” to her:
This is what delicious looks like. pic.twitter.com/6YnHnyv2Yg
— Bertha (@BerthaDigsSR99) July 30, 2013
At 57.5 feet in diameter and more than 300 feet long, Bertha is named after former Seattle Mayor Bertha Knight Landes, the first female mayor of a major U.S. city. She’ll begin digging from SoDo to South Lake Union and a four-lane underground tunnel is scheduled to open by 2016, when the current 60-year-old Alaskan Way Viaduct will be demolished. This is all part of a $3.1 billion project to replace the viaduct.
Bertha’s been tweeting out some nice photos lately, so have a look:
The way I would describe the tests I’m undergoing right now: thorough… pic.twitter.com/pF739OZggi
— Bertha (@BerthaDigsSR99) July 11, 2013
— Bertha (@BerthaDigsSR99) July 17, 2013
Building a concrete tunnel ring. I need to have a few of these in place for leverage before I can start digging. pic.twitter.com/JeCIE9w5BO
— Bertha (@BerthaDigsSR99) July 26, 2013
— Bertha (@BerthaDigsSR99) July 19, 2013
— Bertha (@BerthaDigsSR99) July 20, 2013
Thought this shot might make you feel a little better about the tangle of cords behind your television. pic.twitter.com/oAwxztLJZt
— Bertha (@BerthaDigsSR99) July 24, 2013
The welding never seems to stop around here. It’s not bad, I suppose – feels sort of like a bug bite. pic.twitter.com/GC0147jowe
— Bertha (@BerthaDigsSR99) July 25, 2013
Reach staff reporter Taylor Soper at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Taylor_Soper