We finally have news on the trouble with the Seattle tunneling project. (Dec 12, 2013: Something’s in the way: Seattle tunnel path blocked)
As expected, it was not as spectacular as hyped. No buried UFO, no underground alien lair, no buried treasure.
A buried steel pipe is at least partly to blame for stopping the giant tunnel-boring machine Bertha, which has been stuck since Dec. 6 along the Seattle waterfront near South Main Street.
The long pipe was a “well casing” used to measure groundwater during studies in 2002 on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project, state DOT spokesman Lars Erickson said this afternoon. The well site was listed in reference materials that were provided to bidders as part of the contract specifications, he said.
“I don’t want people to say WSDOT didn’t know where its own pipe was, because it did,” Erickson said.
It’s unclear for now why the pipe was left in the ground by the team that did those soil investigations, or why Seattle Tunnel Partners would not have removed it prior to drilling.
It wasn’t even old, but a remnant from previous testing. Oopsie. That was an expensive oversight. The drill can’t cut through steel but I would guess this well casing can be removed or cut out manually.
For the complete story from Seattle Times, go here.
Tip: Sam Basta, Jr.