Take a Drone Tour Through This Highway Tunnel Beneath Seattle

Andrew LaSane

Building a nearly 2-mile long tunnel beneath a city requires a lot of time and a massive tunnel-boring machine. Luckily, a construction crew in Seattle has both. FastCoDesign recently shared drone footage that highlights what the machine (dubbed Bertha) and the construction workers have accomplished so far—and it looks like a scene taken directly from a science fiction film.

The project to create a new underground highway tunnel beneath Seattle was postponed for a couple years while a damaged Bertha, which stands 57-feet-tall and 325-feet-long, was undergoing repairs. Construction restarted late last year, and according to recent reports, the tunnel is halfway done. But until the project is completely finished, drones and other cameras—set up by the Washington State Department of Transportation—will be tracking the project's process.

And there's plenty to film. As Bertha carves out the SR 99 tunnel for the two-tiered highway, construction workers toil inside and behind the massive machine to shape the walls and other features. In addition, a conveyor system takes debris back out the open end, and a big tube brings fresh air deep into the hole.

The footage from the drone puts the scale of the tunnel into perspective. Annotations on the footage explain how parts of the tunnel were made and identifies various elements of the machine, from the trailing gear to the parts that install tunnel rings. Check it out above.

[h/t FastCoDesign]

Images via YouTube