Bertha the Tunneling Machine

Join us for Bertha’s Pre-Bore Dedication Event

In just a few weeks, Bertha the Tunneling Machine will begin digging the SR 99 tunnel beneath the city. To mark the occasion, Gov. Inslee, WSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners invite you to join us in saying bon voyage to Bertha at a dedication ceremony and public event.

Dedication ceremonies for these amazing machines are a long-running tradition within the tunneling industry, and we look forward to sharing this tradition with the people of Washington. The celebration begins at 11:30 on Saturday, July 20 at Bertha’s launch pit, with brief speeches and a dedication ceremony. When the ceremony ends, you’ll have an opportunity to walk the construction site and peer down at Bertha, poised and ready to dig, in her 80-foot-deep launch pit. Also, don’t miss this chance to sign your name on a tunnel liner segment before they are installed as the tunnel walls. Food trucks will be on-site for snack purchases. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the five-story-tall machine up close before it begins tunneling beneath Seattle.  Please take note of the “conditions of entry” listed below, including the requirement that attendees must wear flat, closed-toe shoes (no sandals, flip-flops or high-heels.)

Bertha’s Pre-Bore Dedication

11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The event will be located at the SR 99 tunnel construction site, near the intersection of Railroad Way South and South King Street. View event map and directions (pdf 187 kb).

There is no parking on-site. Parking is available on city streets and in nearby garages and lots. Please visit for additional parking information. The event will be held on a construction site with limited access and many uneven surfaces.

The following event conditions of entry will be in place:

  • Seattle Tunnel Partners reserves the right to refuse admittance to anyone and to ask individuals to leave the site if they are behaving inappropriately.
  • Attendees are responsible for their own safety while on-site.
  • All participants must wear flat, closed-toed shoes. No sandals, flip flops or high heels.
  • All purses and bags are subject to search. Do not leave items unattended.
  • No pets allowed.
  • All bicycles must be parked outside the construction area.
  • Limited access is available for individuals with strollers and wheelchairs.
  • No smoking on the construction site.
  • Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Stay within designated walkways.

You can track all of the action on our construction cameras. And don’t forget Bertha is on Twitter. Followers of @BerthaDigsSR99 will continue to get regular updates straight from Bertha herself as she prepares to start digging beneath Seattle.

Crews lowered the 57.5-foot-diameter cutterhead into the launch pit on May 31.

Crews lowered the 57.5-foot-diameter cutterhead into the launch pit on May 31.

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