Crews are disassembly Bertha, the massive tunnel-boring machine in Seattle

In Seattle, Crews are chopping up Bertha’s massive cutter head and hauling the pieces away to be melted down and recycled. The disassembly is employing dozens of workers, in addition to those building the road decks inside the Highway 99 tunnel.

Crane operators hoist the rusty spoke segments over the north maintenance building next to Aurora Avenue North, then lay them in the dirt, to be cut again so they’re light enough to truck out.

More than 35 lifts will be needed to remove all the pieces from the pit near Seattle Center where Bertha’s trip under downtown Seattle ended. The giant drill’s re-usable trailing gear, more than 200 feet long, will be extracted mainly through the rear of the 1.7-mile tunnel in Sodo.

The downtown tunnel, at $2.1 billion, is the costliest part of a $3.2 billion replacement for the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct. The viaduct will be torn down once the tunnel is open to traffic.

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