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Crews lifting pieces of Bertha to surface for repairs

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SEATTLE — Workers at the Seattle tunnel project have started pulling pieces of the broken tunnel machine called Bertha to the surface for repairs.

Washington transportation officials say crews began lifting the 270-ton section of the machine's upper body on Thursday afternoon.

PHOTO: Workers huddle for a safety briefing Thursday, March 19, 2015, next to the crane that will be used to lift a 270-ton section of the front shield of "Bertha," the massive tunnel boring machine currently stopped for repairs underground near downtown Seattle.  The machine was digging a 1.7-mile highway tunnel as a replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, pool)
Workers huddle for a safety briefing Thursday, March 19, 2015, next to the crane that will be used to lift a 270-ton section of the front shield of "Bertha," the massive tunnel boring machine currently stopped for repairs underground near downtown Seattle. The machine was digging a 1.7-mile highway tunnel as a replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, pool)

This is the first of four large pieces of Bertha that Seattle Tunnel Partners will lift from the rescue pit. It's part of their repair plan.

Bertha broke down in December as it worked to build a tunnel under Seattle to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct -- damaged in a 2001 earthquake.

The tunnel boring machine drilled into a 120-foot-deep pit and the front of the machine will be pulled out for repairs. STP hopes to start drilling again in August.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: A 270- ton section of the curved front shield of "Bertha," the massive tunnel boring machine currently stopped underground near downtown Seattle while waiting for repairs, is lifted from a 120-foot access pit Thursday, March 19, 2015 in Seattle. The piece is the first of several big crane lifts that will be needed to bring the cutting head and other parts to the surface to complete repairs on the machine, which was digging a 1.7-mile highway tunnel as a replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool)
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