Four sinkholes during Evergreen Line construction in less than a year have left residents in nearby homes worried.
Wednesday, those residents attended a public forum hosted by project officials, seeking answers.
“We’re looking for reassurances. We want to know that down the line, everything is safe. And the residents need to know that if something does happen in the future, that they’re going to be protected. They have homes there, they have lives there, and their children play there; our children play there every day. We need to know that our future is protected.”
Some saying their confidence in the Evergreen Line has reached an all-time low; others, feeling a little more at ease.
“Now I don’t have confidence in them. I might do it once, but I’m not doing it twice through that tunnel.”
“In my opinion it’s changed dramatically, only because I was under the impression these sinkholes could just magically pop up.”
Executive Project Director of the Evergreen Line Amanda Farrell couldn’t guarantee no more sinkholes, but says their actively engaging with the community to calm concerns.
“We’re doing a lot of outreach with the community to explain what’s happening, what measures are being done to reduce the risks. As we say at every opportunity, public safety is our first concern. We want to assure people about that, and let them know about what measures can be done to make everything safe.”
In terms of what project engineers are physically doing differently to try and limit the chance of a sinkhole, Farrell says a thicker, deeper tunnel wall gives more control.
“What you’re trying to do is make sure it’s solid, that the ground can’t flow in and you dock into it and nothing can come in from behind. So that’s what they’re doing: a bigger program of ground improvement.”
Farrell says installing concrete rings and other soil stabilizing materials are designed to keep the tunnel’s integrity intact.
Farrell expects tunnel boring to continue until the end of the year, with testing of some trains as early as next month.