World's largest tunneling machine arrives in Seattle


SEATTLE - A massive machine that will dig underneath and through downtown Seattle’s waterfront arrived Tuesday.

Bertha is a five-story tall, 58-foot wide and 900-ton drill, making it the world’s largest tunneling machine.

Bertha will spend more than a year drilling the two-mile stretch underneath the city for the new Alaskan Way tunnel.

The machine was built in Japan, and then taken apart for the trip across the Pacific Ocean.

It will take a couple weeks to unload Bertha and several more to assemble it.

Crews will put the tunnel-boring machine together in a huge trench – the launching point for the tunnel. All the dirt and rock will be crushed and trucked out of the site.

"We're entering a very exciting phase of the project," said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. "This brings us one step closer to replacing the seismically vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct."

Bertha started its 5,000-mile journey on the Fairpartner ship from Osaka, Japan on March 19.