SEATTLE — Bertha the tunnel-boring machine has now excavated 117 feet of the 385 feet needed before the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct can reopen to traffic.
Seattle Tunnel Partners has installed 17 rings since mining started up again on Friday, WSDOT announced Tuesday morning.
State transportation officials also released new drone video showing progress inside the tunnel.
“Just a few days before the SR 99 tunneling machine started tunneling under the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the Washington State Department of Transportation flew a video-equipped drone through the SR 99 tunnel to show Seattle Tunnel Partners’ construction progress,” WSDOT said. “On an average day, the tunnel is bustling with construction. To avoid disrupting crews, this video was recorded in between regular work shifts.”
The tunneling machine is nearly one-third of the distance it needs to go before the viaduct can reopen.
Here’s WSDOT’s recap of the morning commute:
Highways: WSDOT’s Incident Response Team quickly pushed an early morning rollover crash at Boeing Field to the side of northbound I-5 but even this brief closure had a ripple effect throughout the region with northbound commuters. WSDOT saw extended congestion on northbound I-5 as well as heavier than normal volumes and congestion on northbound SR 167 and northbound I-405 in the Renton area.
Seattle surface streets: Seattle streets this morning continued to show increased congestion, as expected. Northbound traffic on Fourth Avenue South heading into downtown was heavy, similar to last Friday morning’s commute. We encourage drivers to continue to plan ahead and leave early or late to avoid traveling during the busiest peak commute hours.
Transit: The King County Water Taxi continues to serve large numbers of riders with two West Seattle sailings at capacity Monday evening. Additional improvements for pedestrian queuing on both the Seattle and West Seattle docks are in the works for laer today. We appreciate everyone’s patience and commend riders for choosing an alternate mode of transportation to get to downtown Seattle.