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Bertha may be on hold until summer for complicated repairs
The Seattle Times ^ | 2/10/2014 | Mike Lindblom

Posted on 02/10/2014 10:22:12 PM PST by steve86

Seattle Tunnel Partners says it might repair Bertha’s damaged seals from the front end, which would require a digging deep hole along the waterfront and could delay the Highway 99 replacement project for months.

Workers might have to dig a hole up to 115 feet deep to reach and repair the damaged drive system of tunnel-boring machine Bertha, contractors now say.

Once the pit was dug, the 630-ton cutter head would be detached and lifted using a crane, supported by wide footings as if on duck feet, so it wouldn’t sink into the soft waterfront soils.

Chris Dixon, director for Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP), said Monday his team is weighing “four or five options” for a front-end mission, and coordinating the use of waterfront surface space with the city’s nearby Elliott Bay Seawall project.

[...]

The $80 million tunnel machine has damage to the seals that lubricate and protect the $5 million main bearing. This bearing enables the ring-shaped drive shaft to turn the cutter, at about one rotation per minute.

Sand was found in the seal grease, and high temperatures have occurred in the main bearing, according to WSDOT interviews and quality-inspection records.

(Excerpt) Read more at seattletimes.com ...


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; US: Washington
KEYWORDS:
The seal and bearing have about a 25-foot diameter, impossible to deliver through the rear unless either the parts or the tunnel machine are disassembled.
1 posted on 02/10/2014 10:22:12 PM PST by steve86
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To: steve86

Seems like an open ended problem. $5 million ... $80 million ... what will these delays and repairs cost ?


2 posted on 02/10/2014 10:28:02 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: steve86

Thanks for posting this. I was wondering how Bertha was getting along. Poor girl, doesn’t sound good.


3 posted on 02/10/2014 10:37:41 PM PST by upchuck (Stop this abuse now! Get behind Convention of States: http://bit.ly/1ak1Iz9)
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To: steve86

Can the machine be backed out of the tunnel?


4 posted on 02/10/2014 10:46:44 PM PST by Ray76 (How modern liberals think: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaE98w1KZ-c)
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To: Ray76

I think it will back up about 18 inches on its own. For more than that you have to remove all the concrete liners in the tunnel that have been installed behind it. And even then you’d be dragging it out, ruining it.


5 posted on 02/10/2014 10:49:43 PM PST by steve86 (Some things aren't really true but you wouldn't be half surprised if they were.)
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To: steve86

Did they figure out what they hit that couldn’t be drilled? My money is on a new element, Hillarium.


6 posted on 02/10/2014 10:50:08 PM PST by Defiant (Let the Tea Party win, and we will declare peace on the American people and go home.)
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To: Ray76
don't know, many others machine like this are
left/parked in a side tunnel off the main one
after final construction.

7 posted on 02/10/2014 10:53:39 PM PST by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Caligula / 0'Reid / 0'Pelosi)
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Naked Bertha Photos:

https://www.google.com/search?q=bertha+tunnel&num=20&hs=REo&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=R8n5Upq8J-jcyQGYkYDYAQ&ved=0CAwQ_AUoBA&biw=1442&bih=888


8 posted on 02/10/2014 10:57:01 PM PST by steve86 (Some things aren't really true but you wouldn't be half surprised if they were.)
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To: skinkinthegrass

>> many others machine like this are left/parked in a side tunnel

That’s true.


9 posted on 02/10/2014 11:00:02 PM PST by Ray76 (How modern liberals think: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaE98w1KZ-c)
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To: steve86

Well then, tunnel boring machines could use a design review.


10 posted on 02/10/2014 11:01:15 PM PST by Ray76 (How modern liberals think: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaE98w1KZ-c)
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To: steve86

Dump Bertha and hire illegals. They are experts in tunneling.


11 posted on 02/10/2014 11:14:50 PM PST by entropy12 (If you did not vote, you helped elect the community organizer from south side of Chicago.)
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To: dr_lew

All those poor union guys who operate it....I guess they get paid while idle?


12 posted on 02/10/2014 11:16:16 PM PST by pepsionice
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To: pepsionice

bump

another boondoggle


13 posted on 02/10/2014 11:20:07 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: upchuck
Thanks for posting this. I was wondering how Bertha was getting along. Poor girl, doesn’t sound good.

I too was wondering.

So it turns out it was not a rock or an old car but sand that caused the machine to stop?

14 posted on 02/10/2014 11:25:21 PM PST by gunsequalfreedom (Conservative is not a label of convenience. It is a guide to your actions.)
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To: steve86
Seattle's Big Dig boondoggle.
15 posted on 02/10/2014 11:27:51 PM PST by rawhide
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To: steve86
I said it was sand that caused it to stop when it first came to a halt. (heading back to dig up that post of mine).

When you're good you're good.

16 posted on 02/10/2014 11:28:50 PM PST by gunsequalfreedom (Conservative is not a label of convenience. It is a guide to your actions.)
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To: rawhide

Do they have surfing on the Oregon coast? Bertha has a vacation going on!


17 posted on 02/10/2014 11:28:59 PM PST by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: gunsequalfreedom

The seals are bad that protect the main bearing. But the machine was running hot from the very beginning - so perhaps an installation or design problem. Of course drilling through the drill pipe may have furthered the problem and damaged the seal even more?

And even when/if they get the thing fixed, they still have most of the tunnel left to dig.


18 posted on 02/10/2014 11:36:58 PM PST by 21twelve (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2185147/posts 2013 is 1933 REBORN)
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To: Ray76
Can the machine be backed out of the tunnel?

No, they put the tunnel lining up as the machine drills. The lining is smaller then Big Bertha.

19 posted on 02/11/2014 1:24:39 AM PST by Lockbox
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To: Defiant
Did they figure out what they hit that couldn’t be drilled?

It hit a steel pipe.

http://www.equipmentworld.com/a-steel-pipe-is-what-brought-bertha-the-worlds-largest-tunnel-boring-machine-to-a-halt/

20 posted on 02/11/2014 2:26:23 AM PST by Right Wing Assault
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To: Right Wing Assault

They knew that well-casing was there - although they may not have had the proper cutting heads installed at the time. But I guess that is pretty common do just drill through them. Some towns are filled with old oil and gas wells. (This one was a relatively small water well done to test the geology for the tunnel).

They had the over heating problem from very early on (before they hit the casing) - so I think there might be a bigger problem. This is the largest tunnel machine ever built. Although one would hope they did some test tunnels before they shipped it - but I doubt it.


21 posted on 02/11/2014 2:36:30 AM PST by 21twelve (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2185147/posts 2013 is 1933 REBORN)
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To: steve86

5 years from now there will be a rusting hulk in a pit.


22 posted on 02/11/2014 3:29:37 AM PST by dynachrome (Vertrou in God en die Mauser)
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