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Seven weeks of nearly non-stop work are taking a toll on Bertha.

The SR 99 tunneling machine, which cut a nearly 2-mile path beneath Seattle over the past few years, is now being cut apart itself. And a new time-lapse video and photographs from the Washington State Department of Transportation reveal the progress that’s been made.

The images, shot from above the pit where the machine came to rest on April 4, show the inner-workings of the five-story tall machine, exposed now that the shield that surrounded it has been lifted away.

Bertha disassembly
In this June 2017 photo, disassembly is revealing the complex inner workings of the machine that completed a 9,270-foot tunnel beneath Seattle this spring. (WSDOT Flickr Photo)

Only a small portion of the cutterhead spokes remain, according to WSDOT, and Seattle Tunnel Partners plans to remove work-deck platforms, hydraulic systems, hyperbaric equipment and ring-building equipment next.

The process of removing 8,000 tons of machinery from the pit and from the north end of the tunnel is expected to continue throughout the summer.

Construction of the double-decker highway inside the tunnel is ongoing, and traffic is expected on the roadway — being built to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct — in January 2019.

Bertha disassembly
After this section is out of the way, Seattle Tunnel Partners will remove the two hyperbaric chambers at the bottom left of the photo. (WSDOT Flickr Photo)
Bertha disassembly
A welder working for Seattle Tunnel Partners uses a torch to cut a section of the SR 99 tunneling machine’s cylindrical shield. (WSDOT Flickr Photo)
Bertha disassembly
A welder working for Seattle Tunnel Partners uses a torch to cut a section of the SR 99 tunneling machine’s shield. (WSDOT Flickr Photo)

Check out the WSDOT’s Bertha page on Flickr for more images.

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