Digital Culture

Bertha's Journey Inspires Breakthrough GIFs

Seattle is fascinated by the SR 99 tunneling machine.

By Hayat Norimine April 4, 2017

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The pit where Bertha emerged in March 2017 after its 1.7-mile trek.

Nearly four years and 9,270 feet later, the SR 99 tunneling machine nicknamed "Bertha" emerged from under the Alaskan Way Viaduct near the Seattle Center shortly before 11:30am on Tuesday. 

Bertha's reappearance—after two years of delays, a lawsuit between the state and its contractors Seattle Tunnel Partners over machine damage, and millions of dollars in costs—was broadcast through a WSDOT Live Stream, and very quickly the hashtag #BerthaBreakthrough became a source of inspiration for Seattleites ready to respond with GIFs.  

The five-story machine was manufactured by Hitachi Zosen Corp. in Japan and brought to Seattle, where it began its mining journey in July 2013 digging a 1.7-mile section of SR 99 underground. The city will build a new boulevard and public space in lieu of the viaduct, which is scheduled for demolition in 2019. Seattle mayor Ed Murray called Monday a "major construction milestone in our plan to reclaim Seattle's waterfront."

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