Welcoming Bertha, the World's Biggest Tunnel Boring Machine

Advice for the new girl.
Lisa Wogan  |   March 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

The world’s largest-diameter tunnel boring machine (TBM) is travelling all the way from Osaka, Japan to dig the two-mile-long tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Named for Seattle’s first and only woman mayor, Bertha Landes (a tough groundbreaker herself), the sharp-toothed, 7,000-ton Bertha may have a little trouble busting through “the Seattle freeze.” We have some advice for fitting in and making friends.

5 tips for the boring girl
#1 Although your job will be digging up dirt, try not to fling it on anyone.

#2 Good move striking up a friendship via Twitter (@BerthadigsSR99) with that other high-profile—and not universally beloved—newcomer @Pier57Wheel. We recommend reaching out to the cool kids next (see: the pink elephant, the troll and the Space Needle).

#3 If you love dark, damp spaces, you’ll love our weather.

#4 Keep in mind: You’re not alone. Sound Transit often has fellow TBMs drilling under Seattle’s hills. Next up, Northgate to the University of Washington. Maybe you can meet up for the Seattle Underground Tour.

#5 Remember, you’ll return home someday (thanks to Hitachi Zosen Corporation’s buy-back program), which should be some comfort—and make you the darling of Seattle recycle/reuse fanatics.

This article has been updated since its original publication.