The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) expects to lose a whopping $78 million due to extra costs associated with the time Bertha—the tunnel boring machine working on the Highway 99 project in Seattle—sat idle. WSDOT is asking insurance companies to reimburse the money lost during the two-year delay. The Seattle Times,
“That figure reflects extra spending on administrators, engineers, consulting firms and office space as the job goes overtime.
“It also includes construction inflation. More money may be needed to demolish the old Alaskan Way Viaduct and build a new waterfront Alaskan Way, which can’t happen until after the Highway 99 tunnel opens, now scheduled for March 2018.”
The eight insurance companies declined coverage and sued in August. They argue that Bertha’s machine design was “not up to the heavy-duty job of boring the 57-foot-wide tunnel to replace the viaduct.”
The tunnel project is years behind schedule, as it was originally scheduled to open to traffic by the end of 2015.
WSDOT expect to have Bertha operating again on November 23rd. So far, it has only managed to drill 1,083 of the needed 9,270 feet for the tunnel.