Monday, December 8, 2014

That sinking feeling

What could go wrong, they asked? So Seattle said, Damn! The torpedo; full speed ahead! Until they have to stop;
The ground beneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct is collapsing unevenly, according to the state Department of Transportation, and some of the settlement is uneven which raises the risk of damaging the elevated freeway and nearby buildings.
Stepping below street level in Pioneer Square gives a sense of how much the ground is shifting near the state Route 99 tunnel project. Mike Petrone took a KOMO News crew into the cellar of the J&M Café to show us the gauges that monitor the cracks opening up beneath the bar.
"I would say six months, that's doubled, doubled in size," Petrone said, referring to one of several breaks in the concrete that are being tracked.
On Friday, state DOT workers involved in the deep bore tunnel project said their sensors show similar results. Instruments show the ground has settled more than an inch since Thanksgiving.
Who'd have thunk that digging through landfill that used to be Elliott Bay might find water?
The suspected problem is groundwater removal near a repair pit being dug to rescue Bertha, the deep bore drill which sits broken 120 feet below the surface. Crews stopped pumping out that water on Sunday.
"Dewatering can have that effect, that it can cause consolidation of the ground," said David Somers, DOT's operations director for the viaduct-replacement project. "So that's one of the theories that we're looking into right now."
Sunk costs?

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