Bertha Goes Underground – Join us for the fun-packed celebration on July 20

View from construction camera looking south toward the SR 99 tunnel machine launch pit (Source http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/viaduct/Traffic/ConstructionCam)

View from construction camera looking south toward the SR 99 tunnel machine launch pit (Source http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/viaduct/Traffic/ConstructionCam)

The world’s largest tunneling machine, Bertha, is undergoing final tests to go underground before starting to sink her mechanical teeth into Seattle soil.  At the end of July,after the final testing is complete, she’ll begin chewing her way through two miles of dirt below the City. The SR99 tunnel is scheduled to open to drivers in late 2015.

Join Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Transportation for a public celebration at Bertha’s launch site, west of CenturyLink Field, to mark this historic occasion. The celebration begins at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 20 at Bertha’s launch pit, with brief speeches and a dedication ceremony.

The SR 99 tunnel’s exterior walls are made up of thousands of curved concrete segments connected in rings. Rubber gaskets will fill the long grooves on the outside edge of the segments to make the tunnel lining water-tight. Manufactured in Pierce County, these rings will be installed by Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, as she digs underneath Seattle (Photo: Courtesy of WSDOT  and @BerthaDigsSR99).

The SR 99 tunnel’s exterior walls are made up of thousands of curved concrete segments connected in rings. Rubber gaskets will fill the long grooves on the outside edge of the segments to make the tunnel lining water-tight. Manufactured in Pierce County, these rings will be installed by Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, as she digs underneath Seattle (Photo: Courtesy of WSDOT and @BerthaDigsSR99).

After the ceremony, project staff will be available to talk about the tunneling operation; you can walk the construction site and peer down at Bertha from one of the walkways that span her 80-foot-deep launch pit; and you might event get to sign your name on one of the concrete segments that will form the tunnel’s walls. Kids can participate in activities designed to teach them about science and engineering. Food trucks will also be onsite.

Please note that all attendees will be required to sign a safety waiver and wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes as the event will be held at an active construction site. There is limited access for guests with strollers and wheelchairs. We encourage you to use public transit.

Bertha’s Pre-Bore Dedication
11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
The event will be located at the SR 99 tunnel construction site
near the intersection of Railroad Way South and South King Street