- Associated Press - Thursday, January 16, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - An official from the contracting team digging a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle has fired back after public criticism from the Washington state Transportation Department, saying the action could “adversely affect” project completion.

The Seattle Times reports (https://is.gd/SJo5DX ) that Seattle Tunnel Partners project director Chris Dixon expressed surprise Thursday at the state’s criticism.

In a memo to state lawmakers Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said her department has had concerns about the tunneling machine’s operations since it started work last July. Drilling has been halted since Dec. 6 by a blockage. The contractor has trained 20 workers to go inspect the machine’s cutterhead and surrounding soil this week. It’s stuck 60 feet below ground.

Dixon’s letter to lawmakers and other state officials calls for a meeting to patch things up. He says “the cause of this stoppage” was a steel well casing left in place by the Transportation Department. The Times reports that the state has portrayed the steel pipe as only a partial reason for the stoppage.

The new Highway 99 tunnel is part of the project to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct.


Information from: The Seattle Times, https://www.seattletimes.com



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