Bertha's New Year's resolution is simple-- get back to work

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:


SEATTLE, Wash. - Bertha will not be celebrating the new year as planned.

Two weeks ago, the 7,000-ton Highway 99 drilling machine got stuck, and what's stopping it remains a mystery.

Washington Department of Transportation's Matt Preedy said he still has no idea what has been blocking the giant drilling machine for two weeks. 

He also concedes it might be a problem with the drill’s cutting head.  But, Preedy said the problem will not be known until early January.

“There's a lot of water in this area, it takes a lot of time to extract that,” he said.

Preedy said workers have already built six of the 10 wells needed to lower water pressure around the drill.

But he said crews still have to build the other four wells and allow time for them to pump water to stabilize the pressure so workers can look around inside the cutting head.

Project Manager Chris Dixon and Preedy both refused to put a timeline on how much this is delaying the project, or say how much it's costing. 

Both talked about how other work is now underway near the front of the tunnel that was planned for a later date.

The goal is to reduce the impact of the drilling delay.