Today, the world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel — the Gotthard Base Tunnel — opened in the Swiss Alps. The tunnel is a whopping 35 miles long and 1,000 feet deep (at certain places). The project used three tunnel-boring machines, with construction beginning back in 1996.
On average the project cleared about 1.75 miles per year.
Why should you care? Well, a recent article in MyNorthwest.com made an interesting comparison. Via MyNorthwest.com:
“Now compare that to the Seattle tunnel that will replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct. Bertha the boring machine has to go a total of approximately 1.75 miles. Work on the tunnel began more than two years ago.”
To date, the Bertha tunnel-boring machine has only managed a total of 2,314 feet (or, about 25 percent) of the Highway 99 project… again, in the course of two years. Just to be clear, that’s .43 miles in the course of two years.
Other important comparisons the article failed to mention?
The Highway 99 project is expected to cost $3.1 billion. However, cost overrun projections already amount to $220 million.
By contrast, the Gotthard Base Tunnel cost an equivalent of $10.3 billion… again, for 35 miles as opposed to a mere 1.75 miles. And, the tunnel was built with no cost overruns.
Finally, the original completion date for the Seattle tunnel was the fall of 2015. Due to all the delays (caused by sheer incompetency), the latest estimate for the opening is April 2018.
Again, by contrast, the Gotthard Base Tunnel was completed six months early.
Ladies and gentlemen, the incompetency of the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) put in perspective.
Independent Voter says
This is what happens when one side holds the Governor’s office for over thirty years. The cronies become so entrenched in all the appointed head agencies that politics comes first, and the opinions of the people are last. The unstable soil through which they are tunneling will be a major problem for the life of the tunnel, providing that it is, indeed, completed at some future date. The cost overruns will take much needed funding from other roadways and bridges in need of repairs and or replacements. And Seattle/Tacoma/Everett will still control statewide elections vote in empty head puppets like Inslee and the Mayor of Seattle, again and again. The construction unions are not responsible for the design of these projects. Politically correct engineers who couldn’t really engineer a front porch, are.