Tunnel construction in Seattle and Columbus are at a standstill, while officials in Las Vegas are celebrating the completion of a seven-year water project.
First Seattle. Officials there are projecting a completion delay of about 20 months on a new highway tunnel underneath the downtown. Workers are scrambling to repair Bertha, the giant boring machine that became stuck in December 2013. According to the latest AP report:
The project hit another obstacle last [November] when work temporarily stopped so engineers could investigate ground settlement around the access pit being dug to reach and replace the damaged head of the boring machine.
Workers have been "de-watering" to reduce pressure from underneath and on the sides of the pit. Crews resumed excavation last week, and transportation officials said Monday that settlement levels near the access pit has remained stable since late last month.
Boring is expected to resume in April, and as a recent Seattle Times article noted, taxpayers may be on the hook for some of the extra costs incurred.
Officials in Columbus, Ohio, are also dealing with a stuck boring machine. According to The Columbus Dispatch:
Water and a giant hunk of bedrock 200 feet beneath Columbus has bogged down the city’s giant boring machine, leading to a two-year delay and a $29.5 million cost overrun.
The machine, nicknamed “Marsha,” is boring a 4.5-mile, 23-foot-wide tunnel that was originally to be completed this month. The tunnel is supposed to catch sewer overflows that would otherwise spill into the Scioto River during storms. The project was originally estimated to cost $342 million.
Watch a video of the project here.
The picture is now much brighter in Las Vegas, where officials recently celebrated the completion of a major water project, a water intake and tunnel into Lake Mead. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
[The] $817 million project that ranks as the most complicated and expensive in the water authority’s history.
The new intake and tunnel are designed to keep water flowing to Las Vegas even if Lake Mead shrinks low enough to leave the community’s two existing straws high and dry. Such access is crucial for a community that relies on the lake for 90 percent of its water supply.
But even that project faced complications. One worker died on the job, and in 2012 leaks cost an additional $5 million. Watch a video tour of the Las Vegas project below.