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Tunnel-boring machine Pamela will begin digging from Northgate any day now, launching a 1½-year voyage past the future Roosevelt and U-District Sound Transit light-rail stations, finishing next to Husky Stadium.

The 21-foot-diameter cutter can dig the southbound train tube at 50 to 70 feet a day. Its partner drill Brenda embarked this past summer and has already drilled 3,200 feet of the northbound tube.

“What we’re going to have when this is finished is a 14-minute ride to downtown, no matter what traffic is like on I-5,” said Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray.

Workers from the Jay Dee-Coluccio-Michaels team on Wednesday were conducting tests, cutting excess steel from a positioning cradle, and spraying soap through some front-end nozzles that soak and soften the dirt.

The voter-approved $2.1 billion, mostly tunneled 4.2-mile Northgate line, scheduled to open in 2021, will connect with the $1.8 billion, 3-mile tunnel from Husky Stadium to Capitol Hill and Westlake Station, on track to open in early 2016.

— Mike Lindblom, Seattle Times transportation reporter