CHS has mostly resisted the boring jokes. Until now. How else to describe the hours spent in the middle of the night looking down on a massive construction pit waiting for a tunneling machine to break through? But when you’re talking about a 10-month, 35-feet-at-a-time journey, you can wait a few extra hours. CHS and a contingent of Seattle media and Sound Transit reps were left standing in the cold early Wednesday morning as Tuesday’s planned arrival of the first of two tunnel boring machines from Montlake was *slightly* delayed. Even with the rhythmic grinding of the bore sounding through the concrete wall, as of 3a, the machine still wasn’t expected to “holethrough” until later Wednesday morning.
The machine left Montlake last May with a splash of champagne as part of the overall $1.9 billion project expected to be operational by late 2016. The 21.5-foot diameter machine laid 2,278 concrete rings along the route from Montlake to the Hill and traveled 300 feet below Volunteer Park at its deepest point. It also traveled beneath the Montlake Cut and averaged about 400 feet per week of tunneling during its journey. If you are in the market for a TBM, by the way, you might want to give the Sound Transit contractors a call — this machine has finished its Capitol Hill duty and will be parted out or sold.
We’ll add a few images provided by Sound Transit of the big break when it happens. Here’s what it looked like before the tunnel arrived at Broadway early Wednesday. UPDATE: Sound Transit says the official time for the holethrough was 3:58a.