History of tunneling in Seattle focus of Monday night talk at Edmonds Senior Center


The Puget Lobe Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute will offer a free public presentation of the history of tunneling in Seattle Monday, March 3 at the Edmonds Senior Center at 7 p.m.

The program will be presented by Robert “Red” Robinson, who is Senior Vice President and Director of Underground Services with Shannon & Wilson, a prominent geotechnical and environmental firm that is actively engaged in projects around the world and has its headquarters in Seattle.

Robinson will describe how the Seattle area has experienced 130 years of increasingly challenging tunneling, constructing more than 150 tunnels, and totaling over 80 miles, beneath hilly topography and through complexly inter-bedded glacial and inter-glacial soils. To deal with these geologic conditions, local tunneling has evolved through at least four phases, beginning with hand-mining and timber support, leading to today’s huge closed-face tunnel boring machines and pre-cast tunnel segments. Most of the Seattle tunnels constructed over the years are still in use today. The immediate situation regarding the tunneling machine known as “Bertha” will not be the focus of the presentation.

The program will begin at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The chapter meets at the Edmonds Senior Center, 220 Railroad Ave.

The Puget Lobe Chapter of the Ice Age Floods Institute “is dedicated to promoting the public’s understanding and appreciation of the natural and cultural history resulting from the cataclysmic floods of glacial Lake Missoula during the most recent episode of continental glaciation in North America.”

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