Seattle's public celebration for 'Bertha' tunneling machine

Seattle's public celebration for 'Bertha' tunneling machine

Credit: Rich Marriott / KING

Seattle's public celebration for 'Bertha' tunneling machine

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by KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on July 20, 2013 at 12:36 PM

SEATTLE - Bertha, the world's largest tunneling machine, is just about ready to get to work on two miles of Seattle soil.

On Saturday, Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Transportation hosted a public celebration at Bertha's launch site, west of CenturyLink Field.

"This project belongs to the people of Washington," said Inslee. "We want to give everyone a chance to see this amazing machine up close before it starts tunneling beneath Seattle."

Bertha, who has been updating her progress on Twitter since December, said she had mixed feelings about her pre-launch celebration.

"Don't get me wrong. I'm ready to celebrate," @BerthaDigsSR99 tweeted Tuesday. "But I really hope no one breaks a bottle over my head. Talk about a painful tradition!"

Tunneling starts at the end of July after final testing is complete. The tunnel is scheduled to open to drivers in late 2015. For more information about the SR 99 Tunnel Project, visit www.alaskanwayviaduct.org.

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