Bon Voyage, Bertha!

SEATTLE -- Thousands of people got an up-close look at the world's biggest tunneling machine Saturday.  It was Bertha's Bon Voyage party.   The massive tunnel boring machine will begin its 14-month journey under the Seattle waterfront next week.

It's a complex feat of engineering and there's a lot going on this busy site.  Work crews are assembling parts, welding, and testing components as they get ready for the big dig.  But what's going to happen to all that dirt?   WSDOT's Matt Preedy has the answer:  "This conveyor will take the muck from this point up out of the pit over to the edge of terminal 46 where it'll get loaded onto barges and the tunnel debris will get used in a gravel pit reclamation project over in Port Townsend."

The pit where Bertha will be working is 80-feet deep, and west of the city's big stadiums.  More than five-thousand people showed up Saturday, to bid her goodbye as she prepares for her incredible journey.

The tunnel will cost about two billion dollars.