OLYMPIA— The trial to determine who is to blame for the construction delays of Seattle’s State Route 99 tunnel and cost overruns has started in Olympia.

Local news media reported jurors heard opening statements Thursday in the trial that’s pitting the Washington state Department of Transportation against Seattle Tunnel Partners.

The state wants Seattle Tunnel Partners to pay nearly $60 million for delays. Seattle Tunnel Partners said the state, and potentially taxpayers, should be on the hook for more than $300 million in damage and delays.

Department of Transportation attorney David Goodnight argued STP failed to properly train its workers. Goodnight also said STP didn’t test or operate the tunnel boring machine properly.

STP lawyer John Dingess told jurors the machine broke after it hit a steel pipe buried by the state and that STP didn’t know about the pipe until after the machine hit it.

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