Highway 99 tunneling machine gets its name

Highway 99 tunneling machine gets its name
(WSDOT photo)
The five-story-tall tunneling machine that will bore a hole from SODO to Queen Anne for the new SR 99 tunnel now has a name: Bertha.

The Washington State Department of Transportation launched a contest to name the world's biggest tunneling machine back in October.

The winning name - tweeted Monday by WSDOT - was submitted by both a second-grade student at Lincoln Elementary School in Hoquiam and a fifth-grade class at Poulsbo Elementary School.

It is named in honor of Bertha Knight Landes, who was elected mayor of Seattle in 1926.

"This project is about breaking new ground," former mayor and contest judge Charley Royer said in a press release. "Like the SR 99 tunneling machine, Bertha Knight Landes was one of a kind. It's only fitting that the machine bears her name."

Boring for the new SR 99 tunnel is scheduled to start next summer.

In the meantime, you can follow Bertha on Twitter at @BerthaDigsSR99, as it's very important for the giant piece of machinery to connect with today's youth.