Bainbridge gets a good look at 'Bertha'

The ship the Jumbo Fairpartner brings Bertha, the world
The ship the Jumbo Fairpartner brings Bertha, the world's largest tunneling machine, past Bainbridge Island on its way to Seattle Tuesday.
— image credit: Maria Mason photo

Maria Mason got a bit of a surprise Tuesday when "Bertha" floated past the window of her home on Broomgerrie Road.

"Bertha," a five-story-high tunnel boring machine that's the largest in the world, arrived in Seattle this week after a 5,000-mile journey from Oska, Japan.

The machine will be used to drill the Highway 99 tunnel beneath downtown Seattle.

Anyone with a clear view of the Seattle skyline from Bainbridge got a good glimpse of Bertha Tuesday, as the ship the Jumbo Fairpartner carried the massive machine to the Port of Seattle's Terminal 46.

Mason said she had heard the ship carrying the $80 million machine would arrive sometime this week, possibly Tuesday afternoon.

"I sort of forgot about it until I was talking on the phone. I happened to look out the window and there it was," she said.

Mason said she was on the telephone when the "really strange-looking ship" sailed past.

"I told my husband, 'You gotta look out the window, because Bertha is coming by,'" she recalled.

The arrival was quite a sight, she said. The ship carrying Bertha was met by Seattle fireboats shooting giant arcs of water from their water cannons as a welcome while news helicopters hovered above.

Mason's home has a perfect view of the shipping lanes into Seattle, and she immediately started taking photos as Bertha made its way to the port.

"You never know what you're going to see sailing by," she said.


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