Over the years, Bertha the tunnel machine managed to successfully cut her way beneath Seattle and make room for a new SR 99 highway along the city’s waterfront. Now workers are cutting through Bertha, and removing the hulking machine from its final resting place.
A new video shared by the Washington State Department of Transportation on Monday shows Seattle Tunnel Partners workers, armed with torches, slicing through Bertha’s cutterhead.
The machine emerged from beneath Seattle on April 4 at a receiving pit near Sixth Avenue North and Thomas Street. A short time later, it made its way fully into the pit to begin the process of being broken apart and hauled off. WSDOT says three of the 57.5-foot-wide cutterhead’s eight small spokes have been cut and lifted from the pit so far.
Weighing more than 900 tons, more than 35 lifts will be needed to remove the cutterhead alone, and the full disassembly process is expected to last up to five months.
It’s a bittersweet end for Bertha, a machine that managed to frustrate and captivate the city over the course of her nearly 2-mile journey. She even picked up a GeekWire Award nomination for Gadget of the Year, though she didn’t take home the prize last week.
Check out a few more images, courtesy of WSDOT’s Flickr site: