(CBS Seattle) — Seattle’s tunnel boring marchine, Bertha, has passed the halfway mark of its 9,270-foot journey.
The tunneling machine moved past Pike Place Market and excavated more than 4,635 feet of SR-99, according the Washington State Department of Transportation’s press release.
“This program turned a corner earlier this year,” said Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar. “We’re now closer to the end of the tunnel than we are to the beginning, and everyone on the team is working toward the day when the machine comes out the other side.”
The end of the tunnel at the North end of the city is almost complete near Thomas Street (footage here), and construction of the double-deck highway within the tunnel is ongoing.
Crews working on the tunnel will continue to mine for a short time and stop in approximately one month to do planned maintenance, according to Seattle Tunnel Partners.
The most recent schedule of the construction shows work to wrap in the summer of 2017, with the interior structures and testing to finish up by late 2018.
If the remainder of the project goes according to plan, Seattle drivers should expect to be driving through the tunnel in early 2019.