UPDATE: SR99 tunnel to open later, needs another $60 million

The newest timeline from contractors shows the State Route 99 tunnel will open more than three years late and needs millions of additional dollars to be completed.

Tunneling now expected to finish in summer 2017 with the tunnel opening in early 2019 - three years after it was initially scheduled to open.

"Based on our preliminary review, what we anticipate today is a 1.8 percent budget increase, or a cash-flow need of up to $60 million in the 2017-2019 biennium, to ensure continued progress," Washington State Department of Transportation staff said in a written statement.

"Looking toward completion of the viaduct replacement program, we estimate a total provisional budget need of $223 million. That reflects a potential increase of 6.6 percent. These are preliminary estimates and we will continue to refine them as work progresses."

WSDOT staff said they’ve notified the Washington State Legislature of the program’s cash flow needs for the 2017-2019 budget cycle and said they’ll will work with the Legislature through the budgeting process.

“Our immediate focus is addressing the up to $60 million needed as a result of the tunneling delay,” the statement said. “The next 18 months of construction will tell us a great deal about the program’s funding needs beyond the current biennium.”

The massive machine boring a tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct stopped drilling on June 23 to undergo scheduled maintenance. Seattle Tunnel Partners says Bertha resumed mining Monday.

During the maintenance period, which included more than 40 shifts of work under hyperbaric conditions, workers changed the cutting tools and performed other maintenance behind the cutterhead.

Laura Newborn, spokeswoman for the Washington state Department of Transportation, said that as of Monday Bertha was one-third of the way through the project. Bertha was about 120 feet below Spring Street tunneling toward First Avenue. At its deepest point near Virginia Street, Bertha will be more than 200 feet deep.

The machine is on a 9,270-foot trek from the stadium area to South Lake Union.