- The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is suing Seattle Tunnel Partners (STP) for delays on the $1.35 billion tunnel replacement project for Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct.
- The tunnel boring machine, dubbed Bertha, broke down in December 2013 and has yet to be repaired, pushing the completion date for the project from December 2015 to March 2018, KOMO News reported.
- STP maintains WSDOT failed to inform them about a 119-ft steel well casing in Bertha's path, thereby causing the damage to Bertha and the work stoppage, and is seeking additional compensation, approximately $125 million, under their contract with WSDOT.
WSDOT filed its lawsuit, according to a statement by spokesperson Laura Newborn, to preserve its future legal rights, which are sure to be challenged by STP and its insurance companies in court, KOMO reported.
WSDOT claims it expects to see losses totaling $78 million due to the additional expenses of administrators, engineers, consulting firms and office space necessitated by the project delays, KOMO reported; however, Newborn said that WSDOT will ask the court for the lawsuit to be stayed until the tunnel is completed.
In a March 2014 letter to WSDOT requesting a change order for damage to Bertha and other project delays and costs, STP identified the cause of the primary delay — the difficulty in gaining access to Bertha's cutterhead and cutter drive unit, which required a special shaft be designed and constructed for the task.