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Hitachi TBM ‘Bertha’ prepared for Seattle odyssey

Publishing Date
17 Dec 2012 2:04pm GMT
Author
World Tunnelling

TBM-driven tunnels  


Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has announced that Hitachi is finalising the assembly of the world’s largest TBM that will excavate the SR99 tunnel beneath downtown Seattle, US.

Given the recent installation of the 17.45m-diameter cutter head at Hitachi’s Sakai works in Osaka, Japan, the machine is now expected to become the property of WSDOT’s contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, by the end of this month. It will then be disassembled and loaded for shipping, to arrive in Seattle next spring.

Tunnelling is due to start in summer 2013 to the west of Seattle’s stadiums, where crews are currently constructing the shaft down which the machine will be lowered.

In a related development, WSDOT announced on December 10 that the TBM will be named Bertha, after Bertha Knight Landes, elected mayor of Seattle in 1926 and the first woman to lead a major American city.

The name was picked by a panel from competition entries submitted by local pupils. Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said: “The next generation of engineers is in our classrooms right now. Letting students name the machine and providing an opportunity to follow Bertha on Twitter is a great way to engage them in this historic project, which is an engineering marvel.”

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