Getting to Know Seattle: Big Bertha Prevails

The city of Seattle brought in Big Bertha, the world’s largest tunnel boring machine, to dig a 1.7 mile underground roadway to replace an aging and damaged elevated structure that carries a big share of city traffic along highway 99.

Maybe you’ll only like this if you live in Seattle, or if you have civil engineering in your blood. But I thought the 360 video of Bertha on the move is pretty cool. She’s within 2 blocks of surfacing, tunnel completed and her part of the job done.

4 thoughts on “Getting to Know Seattle: Big Bertha Prevails

  1. Just saw a great PBS program on city parks, starting with the Olmstead era and ending with the Highline in NYC. Two Seattle parks were included – the one which was built on an industrial site and retains some of the old structures, and Freeway Park, built over the highway that cut the city in half).
    Is the latter what they are now re-doing?

  2. for Phyllis: They are redoing the 99 Viaduct, which will open walking access from Pike Place Market to the waterfront — now blocked by this big ugly elevated highway. A good move, but a complex and expensive public works challenge.

  3. Wow! Loved the video experience!

    Just an aside — I’ve known a ‘Big Bertha’ all my life. She was and is a very large black suitcase/trunk – not sure which. I first remember her carrying my summer clothes (and those of my 3 siblings as well) from Minnesota to Maine every summer. And she came to my dormitory freshman year as well, filled with all I would need my freshman year. And today, it’s in our attic, holding a few items I couldn’t bear to discard — the skirt I was married in, made from an old curtain and with a tiny tiny waist (or did I turn the leftover fabric from the skirt into curtains?) There’s a fancy dress from Suzy’s first birthday and a dress I made in high-school, part of my college wardrobe, paisley wool in browns and turquoise, princess style with long, cuffed sleeves, and a front zipper, hidden behind a placket that stops to a Nehru style collar – about a size 6 and quite short. As trunks go, Bertha’s really not all that big, and I’m amazed that it once held everything I thought I needed. And now, the few items it holds jostle about. It seems memories don’t really take up much room.

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