Let’s hope Bertha’s petulant, dysfunctional years are behind her.

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THE tunnel boring machine Bertha has had a tough few years. If taxpayers are parents, we can only hope she’s through a maddening adolescent phase of trying on personalities — petulance followed by utter, expensive dysfunction — and is now ready to buckle down and get some real work done.

The shorter-than-predicted shutdown of the Alaskan Way Viaduct as Bertha passed beneath is a good sign. After a near two-year makeover, Bertha seems to be operating like it did at the beginning, making record time. If this keeps up, Bertha will be emerging in time for happy hour in South Lake Union in early 2017.

The costs of the two-year delay in the Highway 99 viaduct replacement project have yet to be tallied or apportioned. Whether Bertha’s meltdown was the fault of the state, for allegedly failing to mark a pipe in her path, or Seattle Tunnel Partners, for allegedly operating a lemon of a machine, will be sorted out in court. The litigation could well go on longer than the project itself.

Like parents, we just have to wait and see, fingers crossed. The only viable path forward for Bertha is forward. There is no second-guessing whether creating Bertha and opting for a tunnel was the right idea or if STP was the right contractor. The design-build contract puts the onus on the contractor to deliver a tunnel. By all appearances, STP is fully committed to finishing.

Chris Dixon, the beleaguered project manager for STP, said last week that favorable soil conditions should mean Bertha will hit maximum tunneling speed now that it is past the viaduct and heading toward downtown. There have been no new sinkholes. About 15 percent of the 9,300-foot tunnel under Seattle is now finished.

Bertha is ours, and we all need to all hope its future is smooth from here on.