■ First incident. On Tuesday January 12th, a spoils barge began tipping over whilst being loaded at the Pier 47 loading site. A bulkhead collapsed, spilling spoils into Elliot Bay.
Pier 47 sustained considerable damage to pilings. Pier 48, where the barge drifted following its release also sustained damages. (WSDOT purchased the pier and it was scheduled for demolition.)
Spoils from the Tunnel Boring Machine travel on a conveyor belt, through the completed bore, across former Alaskan Way, to a site on Pier 47.
The emergence of the sink hole sent alarms through the Department of Transportation. Smelling potential law suites against the City of Seattle, and the State of Washington, Governor Jay Inslee directed Seattle Tunnel Partners cease boring. Stop Bertha in her tracks!
"I have great concerns regarding public safety if the contractor were to move forward without addressing the root causes of this sinkhole," Governor Inslee said during a news conference. "We must continue to protect the public safety."
There are many moving pieces in this presentation. As a retired Instructional Designer, I award 10 out of 10 points for instructional value! Take your time to absorb the content of this interactive graphic.
While it may be true that the State has no "Plan B" in the event of a catastrophic failure of Bertha, inventive citizens have worked up very clever and creative uses for the existing tunnel, terminating with a majestic Community Hall and atrium, featuring an awe-inspiring view of Bertha, the Worlds Largest Tunnel Boring Machine.
And, of course, you'll be able to pose for photos in front of the massive 5-story high cutter head:
• Adults — $15.00
• Seniors / Military — $7.00
• Children under 10 — Free!