This article makes me want to run head on into a brick wall.
They claim to have known about the pipe since the beginning, but thought it was a secondary issue?
They drilled holes to install pilings, used radar and did further drill tests and somehow missed a 115 foot steel pipe that just happens to be hanging
around in the glacial soil that lies under a thick layer of debris and fill soil?
That's right. That this amazes you is, I think, not an issue. We had an earthquake that started this whole thing in, what? 2001, I think? It was
about a 7.2 IIRC. It jolted the Alaskan Way Viaduct and caused some cracks and consternation that the thing would fall down with another jolt like the
equivalent one did in California a few years before. So they did some re-enforcement that added some concrete buttressing and other stuff to make the
thing more rigid on a temporary basis. One of the things they did was dig a well into "the glacial soil that lies underneath a thick layer of debris
and fill soil" just like you said. They were primarily interested in ground water, since this whole construction is a few feet from Elliot Bay, part
of Puget Sound, as well as an ancient (as in late 1800's) sea wall put in place to extend the Seattle waterfront, which is itself deteriorating and
needs replacement as well.
In one sense the Viaduct is ugly as sin and cuts off Seattle from its own waterfront with this two story highway, which just happens to be Highway 99,
the only major highway north south in the fifties before Interstate 5 was built 8 blocks east. So when they built the sucker, it was the only game in
town. In the other sense, traveling into Seattle on top of the viaduct gives you a wonderful view of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. It's just
that you have to be going 60mph to enjoy it. All in all a net loss, I think.
SO, several ideas were floated(!) that sought to take the viaduct down while preserving the traffic flow of this major arterial AND "reclaiming" the
waterfront. The one that won was the tunnel, hence Bertha, named after an early lady mayor of Seattle. Oh, yes, there's lots of controversy and
politics still and lots of people are angry that such a thing was even attempted, so the criticism still flows, but the fact is that it happening and
will be finished. Whether this will wind up like the Big Dig, I don't know. It WILL open up the waterfront and probably make some condo developers
very rich and the condos unaffordable to people like me.
A bit of a quick history. One of my relatives was the first Civil Engineer for the City of Seattle in the late 19th century--even has a piddly little
street named after him, so I may be more interested than most on the topic of how Seattle grew. It simply would not be allowed today for concern about
wetlands, snail darters, and what have you.
But even as Bertha creeps forward we still have to deal with the UFO aficionados and those who can't quite believe that there is a simple pipe
blocking the way and that no conspiracy theories need be invoked. Of course, maybe they'll find a locomotive down there, too, but so far, they've
found nothing but a pipe. I realize ATS is full of civil and hydrology engineers who understand all the vagaries of such projects, and I'm sure
we'll be enlightened by your insights until Bertha pokes out the other end.