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Object Blocking Giant Tunnel Borer Was an 8" Diameter Pipe 141

An anonymous reader writes "A few weeks ago we discussed news that a tunnel boring machine measuring 57.5 feet in diameter was halted underneath Seattle after running into a mysterious object. Project engineers have now figured out what the object is: an 8-inch-diameter pipe. In 2002, researchers for another project — the replacement of the Alaskan Way viaduct — drilled down into the ground to take water samples. They used the 115-ft-long pipe as a well casing. As it turns out, this well site was listed in the contract specifications given to all bidders for the tunnel's construction. In addition, the crew manning the machine noticed that it was chewing up pieces of metal, and they removed part of the pipe and kept going. Only later did they realize that significant damage had been done to the machine's cutting face. Officials aren't sure how long repairs will take, or how much they will cost."
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Object Blocking Giant Tunnel Borer Was an 8" Diameter Pipe

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  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @02:06PM (#45865987)

    But for a $1.44B hole in the ground, I'd want to make damn sure every inch I dig through presents abolutely no risk whatsoever.

    And how do you suppose they are to do that? The only real way to see exactly what is underground is to dig a hole. Sonar only gets you so far, records are sketchy and incomplete, at the end of the day the only way to be 100% sure there's nothing in the way of digging a hole is to dig the damn hole.

    This was a fuckup, sure, but it's on the scale of "we hit something we knew we were going to hit (although not exactly where), we removed it when we hit it, but it turns out it fucked up the drill head when we tried to drill through it." I wouldn't bet on this causing the whole billion-dollar project to fail - it's most likely to be a couple hundred grand, maybe a few million in repairs. And that's coming out of the contractor's profits, not from the state, most likely.

  • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @02:47PM (#45866267) Homepage

    (From article summary):- "As it turns out, this well site was listed in the contract specifications given to all bidders for the tunnel's construction. "

    Looks like somebody forgot to RTFM.

    Looks like they should have had a "Brown M&Ms" [] clause in the contract for just that reason.

    And if anyone doesn't get the reference (or even more so if you think you do, but don't get what the archetypal ludicrously demanding rock band rider has to do with tunnel boring), read the linked article.

  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @03:02PM (#45866345) Journal
    For those that don't want to RTFR (read the fucking reference) some band use to put at the beginning of the contract that they wanted M&Ms in their room and then at the end of the contract put all the brown M&Ms must be picked out. If they arrived and saw the brown M&Ms they knew the contract was not read and would check to see what else was forgotten and/or cancel the show since the contract was not followed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 04, 2014 @03:03PM (#45866349)
    The cutting bits are designed to be replaced; it's a PITA process but it's very much a normal operating procedure. (They're bolted in from the back; the top picture on the tunnel boring machine [] wikipedia page shows a machine with all the bits removed.)

    The problem is if there has been damage to the rest of the face, the support structure around the bits. This is not accessible while the machine is in operation, particularly for an earth pressure balance machine like they're using []. (Required when there's lots of groundwater or a need to minimize surface disturbance, such as in an urban area.)

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @05:35PM (#45867069) Homepage Journal

    The "reforms" have been primarily to keep individuals from discharging debt while still allowing corporations to do so. That's why the left opposed it.

  • by kick6 ( 1081615 ) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @10:41PM (#45868331) Homepage

    it wasnt just some band... it was van fuckin halen \m/... and it was david lee roth pretending to be a pretentious douche of a rock star by asking for the m&ms .

    Actually, according to his autobiogprahy, it was buried in the TECHNICAL part of the contract, and existed to make sure that the promotor/venue read this section so something (like the stage collapsing) didn't occur. What a douche, not wanting to die mid-show killing audience members...

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian