Tag Archives: Seattle

Bertha is stuck under Seattle and the taxpayers are going to have to pay millions, if not billions, to get the giant drilling machine moving again.

Bertha is stuck under Seattle and the taxpayers might be required to pay millions, if not billions, to get the giant drilling machine moving again.

Failures like this do happen, but to me they seem to happen routinely to modern big government projects. I wonder why.

Engineers have finally pinpointed the problem, a damaged seal assembly, that has been stalling the giant drilling machine Bertha in Seattle.

Engineers have finally pinpointed the problem, a damaged seal assembly, that has been stalling the giant drilling machine Bertha in Seattle.

The drill machine is still under warranty, and engineers from its manufacturer are on the way to deal with the problem.

After resuming drilling in Seattle — and only going four feet — Bertha has been stopped again.

After resuming drilling in Seattle — and only going four feet — Bertha has been stopped again.

High temperatures near the machine’s cutting face prompted contractors to stop mining after the drill advanced a total of 4 feet in test runs Tuesday and Wednesday. And that ended Bertha’s attempt to resume mining after an eight-week layoff.

The earlier stoppage remains unexplained. They found some concrete chunks and steel pipe sections in the way, but nothing that could have explained why the drill was blocked. Now the high temperatures pose a more significant problem, as they suggest there is something technical wrong with the giant drill.

After drilling four shafts and sending in one man to look, engineers still don’t know what is blocking the giant tunnel drill Bertha in Seattle.

After drilling four shafts and sending in one man to look, engineers still don’t know what is blocking the giant tunnel drill Bertha in Seattle.

The next step, not simple, is to send workers to inspect the drill face itself.

Under Seattle Bertha has stopped drilling because something is in the way.

Under Seattle Bertha has stopped drilling because something is in the way.

Something unknown, engineers say — and all the more intriguing to many residents for being unknown — has blocked the progress of the biggest-diameter tunnel-boring machine in use on the planet, a high-tech, largely automated wonder called Bertha. At five stories high with a crew of 20, the cigar-shaped behemoth was grinding away underground on a two-mile-long, $3.1 billion highway tunnel under the city’s waterfront on Dec. 6 when it encountered something in its path that managers still simply refer to as “the object.”

The object’s composition and provenance remain unknown almost two weeks after first contact because in a state-of-the-art tunneling machine, as it turns out, you can’t exactly poke your head out the window and look.

FAA officials in Seattle have been accused of pressuring employees to vote for Democratic candidates in the November election

FAA officials in Seattle have been accused of pressuring employees to vote for Democratic candidates in the November election, a violation of the law.

“We write respectfully to request that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiate an investigation into Deputy Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety John Hickey and Deputy Director of Flight Standards Field Operations Ray Towles,” Epstein wrote. “We have been informed that during mandatory meetings of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, Mr. Hickey and Mr. Towles encouraged employees to vote for Democratic politicians in upcoming elections, explaining their jobs may very well depend on a Democratic victory.”

The encouraging thing about this story is that it appears that the FAA is taking this allegation very seriously and appears willing to do something about it.