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Six-Month Delay 'Optimistic' For Seattle Tunnel

An official for the contractor boring the Seattle Highway 99 tunnel says a six month delay in the stalled construction is a "slightly optimistic" forecast.

Seattle Tunnel Partners project manager Chris Dixon says Friday his firm and the Japanese company that built the massive digging machine, dubbed Bertha, have narrowed down their options to three shafts of different sizes. Dixon says a team from Hitachi-Zosen will have a finalized report on their options in about 10 days.

Dixon says building and designing a shaft to access Bertha will take about 2 months and then repairs would have to take place.

Bertha ground to a halt in the first week of December about 1,000 feet into the 1.7-mile tunnel route.

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