City Government

Published on July 21st, 2016 |


City asks Atlantans to help name $11.6M, 600,000-lb. tunnel boring machine

The city of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management is asking Atlantans to help name the $11.6 million  tunnel boring machine it purchased earlier this year. The machine will excavate rocks underneath the city to create a tunnel 12 feet in diameter connecting the Chattahoochee River and the Hemphill Water Treatment Plant to the Bellwood Quarry.

The almost 30-foot, 57,000-pound front main beam was one of the first and largest sections of the machine to arrive last month. More than 70 trucks will bring the massive 400-foot machine in

Atlanta's new Department of Watershed Management Commissioner introduces the first part of the tunnel boring machined to be delivered last month.

Atlanta’s new Department of Watershed Management Commissioner Kishia L. Powell introduces the first part of the tunnel boring machined to be delivered last month.

pieces to Atlanta from Ohio. Crews will assemble the 600,000-pound  machine underground on the quarry floor.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, new Department of Watershed Management Commissioner Kishia L. Powell, Dist. 5 City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Jason Ulseth welcomed the arrival of the largest section of the tunnel boring machine at the former Bellwood Quarry in northwest Atlanta.

Powell announced a public campaign to solicit names for the 400-foot-long machine at the event. “Now, more than 130 years after Atlanta acquired its first dependable water system in the late 1800s, we are working to ensure a sustainable and modern water infrastructure for the City,” Powell said in a news release.

“This machine represents the next century of clean water for our community, and that’s why we’re so excited to have the public help name it,” Powell added.

To submit a name for the machine, visit by July 31 at midnight. Nominations are open to all residents of Georgia, and the three finalists will be announced by Aug. 5.

A key initiative of Reed, the water supply program was developed to provide Atlanta with a 30-day backup of water. The $300 million investment will address the city’s aging infrastructure, build a five-mile tunnel and fill the former Bellwood Quarry with 2.4 billion gallons of water, increasing Atlanta’s water reserve from three days to 30.

The water supply program is scheduled for completion by December 2018.

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