Here’s a video of Sound Transit removing the cutterhead from Brenda, the TBM working on the Westlake-Capitol Hill Section of ULink.

18 Replies to “TBM Cutterhead Removal”

  1. Good News it’s done. No surprises for the parallel tube, so it should be full speed ahead on that one, with an experienced crew.
    I know most everything is technically possible, given enough money and time, but from a practical standpoint, we’re seeing a lot of proposals for new interconnected tubes under the CBD (Ben has two lines), and another ‘Stub’ idea to Ballard.
    Trying to maintain an existing line while cutting into concrete tube under the U-Dist, with all the associated cross-overs, underground box, utilities, water problems, seems like a ‘Yes, and pigs will fly’ proposal.
    Even a second set of tubes under Seattle is such a massive undertaking, I doubt it will ever gain any traction in today’s world of failing economies.

    1. Ever think that projects like this- along with decades’-overdue repairs on this country’s whole infrastructure- could go a long way to cure current “failing economies?”

      Just a thought.

      Mark Dublin

  2. The U Link timetable built in a buffer for tunnelling difficulties. Any professional view yet on whether early completion of that bore – and progress on the other end of the line – allows hope for timetable change? The question would be: how much tunnelling risk relates to very localized conditions (on the adjacent bore) vs general geology..

    1. The only people in possession of that much detail are ST, and they’re very vague on this subject. I don’t blame them either — better say nothing than speculate and be wrong. I am pretty sure that both their schedule and their budget are very conservative, and they haven’t lost many float days yet — I wouldn’t be surprised if it opened early.

      1. The other factor that might affect the actual opening date would be how the contracts for the various parts of the project are written. If there’s a bonus for finishing early that’d certainly give the contractors reason to keep the pace up, but if not they might be content to stay just a certain amount ahead of schedule.

    2. A problem is, one job being ahead of schedule won’t affect the project as a whole. There are MANY contractors, all with assigned start dates. If someone is a week early, that means that the next contractor gets to start on time, not early.

      (BTW; Central link is not really “complete” as far as the contractors are concerned.)

  3. Nice video. She looks none the worse for wear. It seems that Brenda is ready for “seconds”. I hope that she has an even more voracious appetite than the first go around.
    Incidently, my very first girl friend’s name was Brenda, back in 1957, when I was six. I met her in first grade. Brenda was the tallest girl in our first grade class. Smart as a whip. Room A, Hoover School, in Yakima. Great name.

    1. “She looks none the worse for wear.”

      Well, she lost the fancy paint.

      That will make for an interesting high-wide load. It makes you wonder how they get the pieces back to CHS. The DBT TBM will be an even bigger problem, but maybe the proximity to the waterfront will help in that case.

      1. The tail of the TBM fits within the ringed diameter of the bored tunnel, and so can go back to CHS in that tunnel, by load train.

      2. Okay, so it’s just the cutterhead and shroud that need to go back to the station by road. At 20′ or so wide, that will take a couple of lanes of a road. I suppose it’s an easier problem than moving a house which happens from time to time.

        With the DBT bore at 50+ feet, that width will probably take up most of First Ave. I suppose they will just close the road while they move it.

  4. I noticed on the University Link monthly update page that the statistics in the little chart have been updated, but aside from that it’s still the end of October update. Does anyone know if there’s a more recent version? Thanks

  5. The DBT and the return of Brenda to Capitol Hill will be a breeze. This is not exactly new technology. Good gawd. How long have they been digging long tunnels in this state. Since the darn 1880s, perhaps? Oh, I forgot. They haven’t improved the technology since Stampede Tunnel. Or, Cascade Tunnel through Steven’s Pass. Or, the Milwaukee Road tunnel under Snoqualmie Pass. Or, the railroad tunnel from King Street Station to the waterfront, built before you, or your parents, were born. LOL.

    1. The technology is truly ancient. I can’t wait to see the expressions on the Goa’uld faces when they emerge from the stargate to find themselves in the middle of a mud pit.

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