Video courtesy of Sound Transit Video, on Vimeo
The most difficult portion of Northgate Link construction reached its conclusion
today , as the Tunnel Boring Machine formerly known as Brenda holed through at UW Station, completing the boring of the southbound tube from U-District Station.
Here is Sound Transit’s media release.
Brenda was renamed TBM #1 to avoid confusion with the more plague-ridden Bertha, the world’s largest tunnel boring machine currently crawling under downtown to construct the replacement highway for the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Brenda is now a veteran of six tube borings, starting with both tubes between Capitol Hill Station and Westlake Station, then being brought back into commission to dig each of the northbound tubes from Northgate to Roosevelt Station to U-District Station and then to UW Station. After her little sister, Pamela, suffered damage building the southbound tube from Roosevelt Station to U-District Station, Brenda was called back into service to bore the final Northgate Link tube — the southbound tube from U-District Station to UW Station — which she completed today.
Travelers riding Link to or from UW Station may notice a lot of dust in the air down at the platform level. That’s because the freshly bored tube, and Brenda, are just north of the platform.
If you have asthma or other breathing difficulties, and plan to be using UW Station in the next couple days, I recommend bringing along a breathing mask.
Update: Per Sound Transit spokesperson Kimberly Reason, the dust was all cleared by mid-day Friday.
Northgate Link is scheduled to open for service in 2021. Per Sound Transit’s estimates, riders using Northgate Station will enjoy seven-minute rides to Husky Stadium, 14-minute rides to downtown and 47-minute rides to Sea-Tac Airport.
Congratulations go to the Sound Transit engineering department, the contractors, and all the workers who pulled off this engineering feat (twin underground tubes from Westlake to Northgate, passing below the Ship Canal) and did so safely.
Congratulations also go to Brenda, the Tunnel Boring Machine that could. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement!