Washington state wins $57 million in Seattle tunnel lawsuit

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — A jury has awarded the Washington State Department of Transportation $57.2 million in damages over delays in the construction of the SR-99 tunnel that runs beneath downtown Seattle.

The Seattle Times reports the verdict, reached Friday in Thurston County Superior Court in Olympia, represents the entire amount the state requested from the tunnel contractor.

The jury also ruled that the contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, is responsible for repair costs to ‘Bertha,’ the tunnel boring machine.

“We never wavered from our position that it was always the contractor’s responsibility to fix the tunneling machine and that taxpayers should not pay the repair bill,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

Tunneling was suspended for more than two years in December 2013 when Bertha broke down underground. The SR-99 tunnel opened in February.

The Associated Press contributed to this report