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Update on Access Pit for Repairing Bertha TBM PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Monday, 04 August 2014 23:33

Malcolm Drilling's clamshell bucket taking a scoop out while excavating the access pitThere hasn’t been much to report recently for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Tunnel Project in Seattle. As you probably know, Bertha has not advanced since about December of 2013 after drilling through an abandoned steel well casing left over from engineering studies. Whether it was the casing or boulders, or something else that damaged the seals around the giant TBM’s cutterhead, they have some major repair planned.  If you like, feel free to read more about what happened with Bertha.

WSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners JV (STP) announced a conceptual repair plan back in April. It involves creating a vertical access shaft approximately 80 feet in diameter, and 120 feet deep. STP member Malcolm Drilling is currently working on constructing I believe 5-ft diameter secant shafts to form the perimeter of the access shaft. The work is progressing a little slower than expected. The initial schedule issued by STP had the secant shaft wall complete at the end of July. It is now supposed to be the end of August, although they have said this won’t affect the overall repair schedule. You can watch a time lapse video of the access pit construction…pretty cool.

Another interesting item I found recently is a discussion of the cranes that will be needed to repair the bertha cutterhead. If you read my post on the tour I took of Bertha at her launch pit, you might have noticed a huge gantry crane in my photos that lifted components of the TBM into the launch pit for assembly. They will be constructing something similar at the repair site. However, first they need to assemble a 300-ton crawler crane beginning in September. The 300-ton crane will help assemble a 600-ton crawler crane. The 600-ton crawler crane will then help assemble the 2,000-ton modular lift tower (what looks like a gantry crane to my untrained eye). Talk about a heavy equipment ballet!

Last Updated on Monday, 04 August 2014 23:35
 
Hayward Baker Constructs Temporary Emergency Earth Retention for Landslide Repairs Near Train Tracks in Baltimore PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 22 July 2014 00:28
View of failed Baltimore retaining wall before soldier pile wall construction

Hayward Baker was among the contractors called in for emergency repairs to a failed retaining wall in Baltimore that destabilized a slope, causing a landslide that enveloped cars and threatened a railroad track below. The final episode of the slope failure was caught on video and showed several cars being swallowed. GeoPrac sponsor, Hayward Baker is currently on-site installing a temporary soldier pile lagging wall with tiebacks to facilitate the construction of a permanent wall. They are anticipating to have the temporary wall complete in August. [Source: Read more about the project at Haywardbaker.com. Image: Hayward Baker]

 
Geotechnical work underway on new section of Historic Highway PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Friday, 11 July 2014 00:22

Access Road Construction for Geotechnical Investigation

Geotechnical work has commenced for a project involving reconstructing the Historic Columbia River Highway in Hood River County as a segment of Oregon's Historic Highway State Trail. The geotechnical scope consists of 48 test pits, 58 boreholes, and constructing 4,000 linear feet of temporary access roads. [Source: Hood River News. Image: Hood River News]

Last Updated on Monday, 04 August 2014 22:52
 
WSDOT Denies $125M Change Order for Seattle Tunnel Partners PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Sunday, 18 May 2014 23:22
Section of steel well casing that STP alleges caused damage to Bertha

The WSDOT announced recently that the Seattle Tunnel Partners Joint Venture has requested a total of $188 million in change orders so far, and that the Department has denied $157 million of those, with $31 million worth still under review. Among the change orders rejected was one for $125 million plus additional contract time because STP claimed the Bertha TBM was damaged by a steel well casing. WSDOT's position is that the location of the well casing was included in the contract documents. [Source: WSDOT. Image: Seattle Times Blog]

 
Bertha TBM Won't Resume Drilling Until March 2015 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Monday, 21 April 2014 23:52
Bertha repair plan calls for excavating a shaft in front of the TBM.

Seattle Tunnel Partners released a new schedule this week for the repair of the damaged seals on the Bertha Tunnel Boring Machine. This revised schedule shows that the TBM won't be digging again until March of 2015. The excavation of the pit to access the TBM will begin at the end of May, a delay caused by additional archaeological work. By October they hope to have the cutterhead removed to conduct the repairs, and the machine will undergo testing in February of 2015 with tunneling resuming in March of 2015. [Source: WSDOT. Image: WSDOT]

 
Conceptual Plan for Excavation to Repair Bertha TBM PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 23:28

Seattle Tunnel Partners has released a conceptual plan showing what the excavation of the pit will look like to repair the damaged Bertha Tunnel Boring Machine. See below.

STP conceptual repair plan for Bertha.

A pit 120 feet deep and 83 feet in diameter will be excavated so that the TBM can be driven into the pit and the cutterhead removed. Crews will then repair the seal system around the main bearing. [Source: WSDOT, Image Credit: Seattle Tunnel Partners and Brierly Associates by way of WSDOT]

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 06:34
 
Foundation Drilling Starts for Deck to Be Built Over NY Rail Yard PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 22:56

Plan view of the Hudson Yards Development

I love how the Atlantic Cities article starts, they use the phrase "only in New York", which is very appropriate in this case! Foundation drilling has commenced for a project that will create 26 acres of developable space by creating a deck over the top of a Long Island Rail Yard serving America's busiest train station, Penn Station. Over 300 drilled shafts extending 90 feet down to bedrock will be constructed to support a continuous concrete deck that will span over the entire rail yard (check out the photo and video below!). High-rise buildings and other structures will be built over this deck to form the neighborhood that the developers are calling Hudson Yards. The area of the track where the 30 LIRR tracks converge into 4 lines that enter Penn Station will have a steel truss bridge with about 150 ft span length.

Video Rendering of Hudson Yards Construction

[Source: The Atlantic Cities via National Driller. Image: Related Companies via The Atlantic Cities]

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 06:36
 
Plan for Bertha Repair Submitted, Archaeological Surveys Underway PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 20 March 2014 14:20

Seattle Tunnel Partners and WSDOT are moving forward with the plans to excavate a 120 foot deep shaft to repair the Bertha Tunnel Boring Machine. Unfortunately, there are archaeological issues since the project team did not clear the area where the shaft will be excavated. A series of 4-inch boreholes 20 to 40 feet deep (I wonder what drilling method, sonic?) will be performed under the supervision of the archaeologists to look for culturally significant items. The top of Bertha sits approximately 60 feet below grade at this point, below the historical fill used to fill in the waterfront. [Source: More info at WSDOT. Image: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - Illustrated Reference]

 
URETEK Stabilizes Sinking Gypsum Dome PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 23:07

When your gypsum plant is capable of producing 900 million square feet of wall board every year, you can't afford to see your process shut down by settlement or problems with groundwater infiltrating or soil erosion beneath slabs and footings supporting your facilities. GeoPrac sponsor URETEK ICR responded to these problems at a LaFarge Gypsum Plant in Florida and stabilized the subgrade and sealed up joints using their geopolymer injection technique. Did I pique your curiosity? Watch the video below for more details, and check out the full blog post by URETEK ICR for more details.

Video of Dome Stabilization

[Source: Uretek/YouTube. Image: YouTube]

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 06:10
 
Bertha Repair Plan Will Involve Vertical Shaft In Front of Machine PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:13

Damaged bearings in Bertha

WSDOT announced on Valentine's Day that the plan to repair the damaged Bertha TBM was not ready yet, as engineers from Hitachi Zosen, the machine's manufacturer, would need until the end of the month to have the plan ready. They did say maintenance would need to be done in front of the face, requiring the construction of a vertical shaft. It sounds like more work for STP JV team member Malcolm Drilling, and they may already have started on it. We'll keep you posted. [Source: WSDOT. Image: Seattle Times]

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 February 2014 07:15
 
Feb. 7 Bertha update: Two factors contributed to tunnel stoppage PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 00:40

WSDOT released an update on February 7 with some conclusions regarding the blockage that has stopped the Alaska Way Viaduct Tunnel Boring Machine, Bertha's progress since December 6. Now they don't think it was necessarily the well casing after all.

They cite two factors that contributed to the blockage. First, the cutterhead was clogged with material. You can see an cool short video of a worker unclogging the cutterhead. Not terribly dramatic, but still cool. The second factor was increased temperatures inside the equipment. STP discovered damage to a seal that protects the machine's main bearing. They are still determining how the repairs will be done.

If you want to follow the chronology of this issue, read below for summaries and links to previous updates from WSDOT. And Check out the videos too! [Source: WSDOT]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 07:58
 
Attempting to Remove the Pipe Blocking Bertha PDF Print E-mail
Written by Randy Post   
Monday, 13 January 2014 23:28
Infographic on measures used by STP to remove the steel well casing blocking the Bertha TBM

The Seattle Tunnel Partners JV is attempting to remove the rest of an 8 inch diameter steel well casing that has been blocking the Bertha tunnel boring machine since December 8, 2013. The upper 55 feet was removed earlier, but another 64 feet or so remains in the ground in front of the cutter face.

The team is using a drilled shaft rig to drill 5 foot diameter shafts directly in front of the TBM face to attempt to intersect the steel. The first two shafts were completed last week. The first one did not strike steel, I'm not sure about the second one. I believe they have two more to go. The shafts will be backfilled with concrete to help form a protective wall in case workers need to enter the excavation chamber just behind the cutter face. If the steel is encountered in the shafts, they will attempt to remove it using augers or clamshell buckets. The DOT press release seems to indicate that there may be more what's blocking Bertha than just the well casing. We'll keep you posted. [Source: The Seattle Times. Image: Mark Nowlin / The Seattle Times]

 
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