Friday, May 31, 2013

Some Assembly Required! - Part Three

Assembly of Seattle's State Route (SR99) Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) reached an important milestone today with the placement of the Cutter Head into the assembly pit.

Newly appointed Washington State Secretary of Transportation, Lynn Peterson officiated this mornings  "topping off" the machine. (Look carefully, you can just make out an American flag attached to the Head.)

More important, officers from from Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), in charge of actual construction of the tunnel. STP is a joint venture of Dragados USA and Tutor Perini Corporation. Local firms involved with the project include Frank Coluccio Construction and HNTB (nee Howard, Needles, Tammen, Bergendoff) Corporation.

And the "media."

Lifting the 17.45 m (57.5 ft) diameter Head, weighing in at 887 tons, from the Goldhoffer transporter, was a piece of cake for the modular rail mounted crane, with a capacity of  1,000 (short) tons.

The Head assembly was pre-staged at the Assembly Pit Thursday evening, so that the lift and placement could be conducted in daylight today.

Unfortunately, the media has never addressed the issue of just how complicated this tunnel construction is. To learn why divers and a decompression chamber are associated with this project,  click on this link.

As "They" say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So I've processed a series of frames, visualizing this event.

And so the TBM is basically laid out from end to end.  But more assembly still required. There are many more pieces to be added.

It has been a thrill  to witness the assembly of the Worlds Largest Tunnel Boring Machine. Many "thanks" to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for installing the web cam.

You can follow the on-going assembly by selecting the SR99 Web Cams button in the right margin. There are additional cameras covering action at either portal, as well as time lapse videos.

Some Assembly Required - Part Two
Some Assembly Required
First Ashore
Unloading Bertha Has Begun
Something Heavy This Way Comes!

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