Bertha's Big-Project Trouble Not Uncommon, Professor Says

April 13, 2015

Now two years behind schedule, Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct project dug itself out of its latest setback, as the 4-million-pound tunneling machine known as Bertha was hauled to the surface in late March.

According to Bent Flyvjerg, a professor at Oxford’s Said School of Business who researches megaprojects, this type of setback is common. His research reveals that megaprojects consistently come in over budget and under deliver; Bertha being no exception.

The Washington Department of Transportation's current plan is to install a new system of seals, replace Bertha’s main bearing, and reinforce it with 160 pounds of steel.

This process means another project delay without a contingency plan in place in case Bertha breaks down again. In addition, it is still unclear whether the project will fulfill its original purpose.

Check out Flyvjerg's analysis and other Bertha charts and graphics at Bloomberg Business

Source: Bloomberg Business