If you’ve lost track of how long Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine has been underground (mostly) working on Seattle’s new waterfront roadway, well, forget about her for a minute. Things above ground look cool!
The Washington State Department of Transportation Flickr site is a great place to check in with for recent images from the massive Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project — as well as roadwork big (520 floating bridge) and small across the state.
Photographs uploaded this week include a great panorama (click above to make it bigger) showing progress at the north portal of the tunnel near South Lake Union. The photograph appears to have been taken from the roof the new operations building, looking north.
The Space Needle and EMP Museum are visible on the far left of the image and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is in the center. Highway 99 runs through the picture and to the right of the frame there are construction cranes and apartments — no Seattle image would be complete without them.
Another shot on Flickr shows a before and after of the area around the north portal. The before image, taken in January 2014, shows a giant pit just a few blocks east of the Space Needle as work was in the early stages. The after image from this month shows the operations building and new sections of Harrison Street and Sixth Avenue North.
The distinctive yellow ventilation stacks on the operations building (they’re the same at the south end of the tunnel) frame the Space Needle in a third image.
In a fourth image, crews with Seattle Tunnel Partners are shown moving the base and motor of a ventilation fan into the fan room of the building. WSDOT says it’s the first of four fans to be installed inside the room.
Finally, a giant propellor for one of the fans is shown before installation.
There really is quite a bit happening beneath the surface, as Bertha continues to mine under downtown Seattle. Watch how they make the concrete segments for the tunnel’s outer wall rings, and see the double-deck highway taking shape.
For more on the SR 99 tunnel project, visit the WSDOT site.