SR 99 Tunneling Resumes

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While technical challenges involving the world’s largest TBM to date and difficult soils were among the anticipated challenges facing the SR 99 tunnel project in Seattle, a labor dispute was responsible for a recent delay.

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However, tunneling finally resumed on Sept. 23 after being shut down since Aug. 20 due to a labor dispute. The dispute involved a picket by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which contends that jobs involving loading tunnel muck onto barges at the port should be in its domain. Project owner Washington State Department of Transportation reports that labor negotiations will continue, but the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on Sept. 17 agreed to remove its picket line at the SR 99 Tunnel Project work site, clearing the way for tunneling to resume.

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