Native American artifacts new issue for Seattle tunnel

SEATTLE (AP) - Ancient Indian artifacts could lie in the shaft contractors need to dig to repair the broken machine boring a highway tunnel under downtown Seattle.

The Transportation Department's cultural resources manager, Steve Archer, says workers started boring probes Thursday to determine if archaeological work is needed. The shaft will be dug through an area filled-in years ago along the Seattle waterfront.

The department's deputy administrator on the tunnel project, Matt Preedy, says contractors hope to have a plan next week for the 120-foot shaft. They plan to drive the machine called Bertha into the shaft so the cutting head's bearings and seals can be repaired.

The machine ground to a halt in early December 1,000 feet into the 1.7-mile Highway 99 tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.