She's here! Bertha breaks through wall into rescue pit

SEATTLE (AP) — Bertha has reached her goal.

The cutterhead on Seattle's troubled tunnel machine broke through the 20-foot-thick wall of a rescue pit at about noon on Thursday. Video from a television helicopter shows a big plume of dust coming from inside the pit as the machine emerges.

State transportation officials say the boring machine moved forward about 6 feet by Wednesday night and stopped to build two concrete tunnel rings before resuming Thursday morning.

The tunnel, which will run about 2 miles under the city, is designed to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct, damaged in a 2001 earthquake. The project is two years behind schedule.

Once Bertha reaches the pit, crews plan to remove the front of the machine and pull it out of the pit so it can be repaired.