Of course theoretically, we were just visiting a good friend to see how she was doing with her new knee. The fact that it involved sitting by the lakeshore quaffing really good wine on a spectacularly warm and beautiful day was, I’m sure, completely coincidental 🤣
David has more than a few years of experience of Father’s Day falling on Chelsea’s birthday and having to share so he was more than cool with having the grandkids come over to play so that she could go hiking with her husband on her special day. Besides, what could he want that would be more fun than hanging out with Cora & Anders? 😊
It also meant that we got to see Chelsea on her birthday so it was win-win for us although Chelsea did have to let her children ‘help’ her open her presents 🤣
When I wasn’t watching the tennis from Stuttgart this morning I was keeping my eye on these guys as they headed south past my windows. 🤗
Then David got home from Amsterdam and took a quick nap and once he woke up Taryn & Colton dropped in for an early Fathers Day happy hour since they’re busy tomorrow. That gave me a perfect excuse to break open some of the good stuff instead of the everyday house wine – cheers! 😄
I can see Constellation Park from my house and go past it every time I go out for a roll. I was there this morning along with the beach naturalists and lots of kids enjoying our lowest of tide of the year. Gorgeous day right before the start of summer and temperatures in the 90s next week 😃
The Brilliant Vigilance of Seattle’s Gargantuan New Tunnel
Say there’s a fire. A fire caused by a car crash, inside a 2.5-mile tunnel under a major American city. It’s a terrifying idea, but if you want that kind of problem to ignite anywhere, it’s in the stretch of State Route 99 that, later this year, will start whisking traffic underneath downtown Seattle.
That’s because this bit of SR 99 is more than the hemisphere’s largest-diameter bored tunnel and the country’s longest roadway tunnel outside of Alaska, much of it dug by Bertha, formerly the planet’s largest boring machine. To go with such superlatives, it might be the world’s smartest tunnel, too.
The theoretical firefighting begins within moments of the flames’ first appearance, as the tunnel’s 8.3 miles of built-in heat sensors pick up the change in temperature. Of the 300 cameras, those closest to the problem zoom in on the flames. First into action is the deluge system, which can dump 17 inches of water per square foot into the tunnel, through 21 miles of piping. It’s so much water, the tunnel’s engineers had to run models to be sure the decks (those things that hold up the cars) could manage the weight. Eventually, 3.8 miles of drainage pipes will dry things out, ushering the water to a sewer treatment plant.
Next on the emergency procedure checklist comes clearing out the smoke and bringing in fresh air. Most tunnels use jet fans to push air from one end to the other, an understandable but less than nimble approach. SR 99 has vents every 100 feet, so the eight exhaust fans and 17 jet fans can move air into or out any part of tunnel, via the ventilation stacks at either end. “There are very few tunnels able to extract air,” says Susan Everett, the Washington State DOT project engineer in charge of commissioning the tunnel. “And there are very few, maybe one in Japan, that can extract at the pinpoint accuracy we can.”
Meanwhile, the tunnel’s operating system automatically changes the digital signs around the tunnel to stop incoming traffic, and instruct motorists already inside to clear out. They’ll do that on foot, via the world’s only self-sufficient tunnel emergency walkways, complete with their own pressurized air and fan systems.
While all this goes down, the latest info on what’s happening flows through 13 miles of fiber-optic cabling and 95 miles of electrical wiring, to the nearby Traffic Management Center. Inside the NASA-style control room, where monitors line the walls as well as rows of workstations, every movement in the tunnel gets noticed.
At the less catastrophic end of the scale, say a mattress falls of a truck. The tunnel’s sensors will detect the change as cars slow down and move out of the blocked lane (with time, they’ll get better at spotting what’s normal and what isn’t). From there, the cameras will zoom and tilt toward the problem, relaying their feeds to those monitors at mission control.
In case traffic starts to build up, environmental sensors on the roadway deck measure carbon monoxide, NOx, and particulate levels every minute, for a continuous five-minute average. If anything gets alarming, they can automatically turn on the jet fans and, if needed, the exhaust ventilation system to keep everyone safe. “If we see traffic backing up and raising carbon monoxide levels, we can start to extract air right at that location,” Everett says. “It is always equalizing, with more air rushing in.”
All these monitoring systems, of course, get their own lookout. Yet another system tracks recommendations for routine and preventative maintenance. When it’s not saving Seattleites from poisonous smoke (which should be all the time), the emergency passageway doubles as a maintenance corridor, allowing crews to stream up and down the tunnel in electric carts. Workers can pull equipment offline in sections, working on individual components without taking down the entire system.
That bit’s necessary because the watch never ends. Whether it’s the old-school loop detectors (those wires embedded in the roadway to detect vehicle movement) or the newfangled incident detection camera network spotting a flickering light or that wayward mattress, the computers, backed up by Washington State DOT personnel, keep tabs on the tunnel at all times. Because digging deep isn’t always enough—you’ve got to dig smart, too.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.
Last weekend was busy for our family on both sides of the pond. Over here there was a Rapunzel party to celebrate Cora’s 4th birthday….
and back in the motherland my Mom and brother celebrated what would have been my Dad’s 94th by taking him for one last hike to the top of Malvern…
It seemed perfect timing since we had held Dad’s celebration of life on Anders’ first birthday last October and yes, much champagne was quaffed to celebrate both events 🙂
Nice sun dog that I noticed to the north this evening after a great docent training session on the neighborhood fire stations of the Duwamish peninsula. Now I’m all ready for the Log House Museum’s new exhibit Fired Up….. at least theoretically 😄
So what’s your biggest clue that David is still gone……. the volume of the music coming out of my house?? the fact that I’m drinking my second martini??.,,,,.., or the fact that my dinner includes arugula, chick peas AND Roquefort cheese?????? Hahahaha 🤣🤣🤣
David’s last couple of trips have only had a few days at home in between……apparently not enough time to stop him from falling asleep every night as soon as he sat down to watch a movie with me 🙄🤣 but it’s given me plenty of free time and I have had happy hours on the deck, friends over for dinner, been out for birthday happy hours with other friends at which randomly more friends happened to turn up…. but did I take any pictures?? OK, technically I took one – yay me! 🤣
But today, David flew out of here and just a few hours later I decided to make myself a lychee martini because let’s be honest, what else are you going to do with a tin of lychees??! Anyway, I now have lots of pictures of my drink – enjoy, and try not to make sense of what I think is worth taking a picture of 🤣
While some people think our warm sunny weather is perfect for getting this years coat of teak oil on our benches I had a rocket launch from Vandenberg that of course I had to watch! 😄