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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Drillers sue after costly tunnel fix

Associated Press

SEATTLE – The contractors who built Bertha the tunnel machine two years ago have filed a lawsuit seeking $11 million in extra pay.

The contractors contend that their efforts working with tough soil conditions cost more than originally anticipated, according to the Seattle Times.

Malcom Drilling Co., which created the 120-foot deep access vault, filed the lawsuit against Seattle Tunnel Partners earlier this year.

Seattle Tunnel Partners is the prime contractor for the future state Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct. They hired Malcolm to repair the massive machine after it stalled due to overheating.

According to the lawsuit, Malcolm contractors had to fend off sloppy soils and groundwater much more than expected to access the damaged machine.

The Seattle tunnel was the preferred choice to replace the viaduct when it was damaged in a 2001 earthquake. But the tunnel boring machine broke down in late 2013, leading to a more than two-year delay while it was fixed.

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