Yesterday the TBM Brenda broke through the north wall at the future Roosevelt Station. Launched from the Maple Leaf portal in April of last year, Brenda completed her 1.5 mile journey digging up to 100 feet per day. The contractor, JCM, shoots for 60 feet per day, and Brenda was routinely digging 80 feet per day. TBM Pamela is currently on the same trek, digging the southbound tube. Pamela is making good progress and is currently at NE 85th St near I-5 and should reach Roosevelt this summer. Both TBMs are named after wives of two of the construction project managers.

Many STB writers can attest that the estimated hour the contractor tells ST’s media relations team is usually many hours before it actually holes through the station wall. Brenda was no different; her nose cone didn’t pierce through until late afternoon despite being told to prepare for a morning hole through. She didn’t fully hole through the station wall before the tunnel workers’ shift ended at 4pm. Sound Transit staff will be on hand during the next shift to capture video of the full hole through.

Brenda Breakthrough at Roosevelt

Brenda Breakthrough at Roosevelt

A few more photos can be found here.

26 Replies to “Brenda Holes Through at Roosevelt Station”

  1. “Like watching paint dry.” Hope that wasn’t the last thought in the mind of the crewman at the controls of Bertha the turn before she hit the pipe.

    Or orders from corporate headquarters a long way off-site.
    Variation of common demand starting with of “Why don’t we just…?!”

    Also mindful of comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s calendar statement:

    “You may be a (derogatory term for a southern tenant cotton farmer whose Scots Irish skin above his collar was suburned all his life) if…You ever knew anybody whose last words were, “Hey, watch what happens when I do this!”

    However, this category does not usually describe the official who issues that particular phrase from corporate headquarters.


    1. I suppose if they wanted to get people’s attention they could back Brenda up and do conventional drill and blast for the final several inches.

  2. At a recent ST board meeting, the North Link project manager stated the contractor was not satisfied with Pamela’s performance, especially in comparison to Brenda. Has Pamela’s performance improved?

    1. I think the key is in comparison to. I believe they said Pamela has routinely been doing 60 feet a day. But when Brenda was often doing 80 ft/d, and even 100 ft/d as it got close to Roosevelt Station, it is disappointing by comparison. I remember them saying that so far everything is fine with Pamela and that they don’t see any reason why there would be any delays for her reaching Roosevelt.

      1. At that last report, ST staff said Pamela had been do 20 feet a day for the first several weeks, but had picked up speed and moved to 3 shifts a day.

    2. I know its early but any indication whether these tunnels are ahead of schedule like U Link was?

      1. I seem to remember reading the December ST progress report. At that point, they were behind a month. Brenda had to stop so that the contractor could re-arrange its spoils conveyor with Pamela’s, and set up Pamela.

        They could have caught up by now, or not.

  3. So, next steps are for Brenda to get craned over to the other end of the pit, relaunched, to get to the U-district station. Then, repeat to get to the UW stub tunnel, right? And do it all again for Pamela.

    (U-district, UW, and University station. Good thing that’s not confusing.)

    1. Yes, but apparently she gets “jacked” over to the other side of the station box. There’s a large bridge spanning the shaft which would make it difficult to crane it over. I’m not exactly sure what it means to jack a TBM, but they do have two slots in the station’s slab which would make it fairly easy to sled her over.

      Indeed it is confusing with the U-District Station and the University of Washington station. The contractor kept referring to the latter as “Husky Stadium (station)”. Apparently the ST board didn’t see a problem with two sequential similarly named stations that are just a couple of stops away from another one called University Street.

      1. I’m betting that the tbm will use much the same method to move through the open station area that it has moved through the tunnel it’s boring. That is, it pushes itself with heavy hydraulic jacks pushing against the tunnel lining that it has installed previously. The station box lacks a tunnel lining, but a substitute can be introduced, allowing it to inch along. Probably way cheaper than trying to get a heavy enough crane onsite to do just several hours worth of work.

    2. The January Link Progress Report has a tunneling schedule item for TBM#3 mobilization in late May. IIUC, this TBM would mine the tunnels between U-District station and Husky station.

      1. If I recall, the contractor changed their plans a while back and are staying with the two TBMs to dig all 6 tunnel segments.

      2. @Pete

        Not correct. ST has a third TBM available for whatever purpose it is required for.

      3. The contractor owns the machine, but ST will make the call on whether to activate it (at least if it is required for schedule recovery reasons).

    3. I agree that the station names are really confusing. Even as someone who is interested and following the project closely, I have a hard time keeping them straight.

      Add the University Street station to the mix and I predict that tourists and visitors are going to be very confused. Maybe we could call the University of Washington station the Stadium Station instead…. oh wait.

      1. That ship sailed a couple years ago. Consider those three station names a cheap IQ test.

        My money is on renaming University Street station at some point to something like Financial District.

      2. ‘University District’ and ‘Husky Stadium’. Change downtown ‘University Street’ to ‘Symphony’. The term ‘station’ seems somewhat superfluous. We all know it is a station.

    4. It’s my understanding that ultimately the station names are chosen by the cities that the stations are in and are just approved by the ST Board.

      1. It’s basically the same process as alignment decisions and station spacing. The ST board chooses the names and has a public comment period, but it defers heavily to what the cities want.

      2. Just for fun, Northgate could be re-named North Seattle College, and Capitol Hill could be renamed Seattle Central College.

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