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Lady Bird Tunnel Boring Machine
To create the massive underground structures that form the Anacostia River solution to Combined sewer overflows (CSOs), giant tunnel boring machines are being used to bore metro-sized tunnels more than 100 feet underground. The first machine to arrive at DC Water has a 26-foot diameter and is more than a football field in length when fully assembled.Tweets by @LadyBirdTBM
This tunnel boring machine (TBM) will be used to dig the first portion, known as the Blue Plains Tunnel, a 4-mile section of the 13-mile Anacostia River Tunnel.
TBMs are named and christened much like boats in the nautical world. DC Water's TBM was named "Lady Bird" after Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Johnson, First Lady and wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson. When her husband became president in 1964 she made it her mission to preserve and protect the environment. In 1964 she formed The Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, whose positive contributions are still visible today. She encouraged her husband to declare the Potomac River "a national disgrace," which drew attention to the declining health of America's waterways and was a catalyst for the eventual Clean Water Act of 1972.
On April 9, 2013, the cutterhead for "Lady Bird" was christened in a ceremony with District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary M. Cheh, US EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, District City Administrator and DC Water Board Chair Allen Y. Lew and DC Water General Manager George S. Hawkins. The Mayor christened "Lady Bird" with DC tap water while hundreds looked on.
"Lady Bird" was lowered underground in late May, and is being assembled to begin tunneling in July, 2013. You can follow her journey under Blue Plains, along the Potomac and up to the Anacostia River on Twitter @LadyBirdTBM.
And stay tuned to find out about her future sibling TBM who will start tunneling near RFK Stadium, working south toward Poplar Point to meet up with Lady Bird.
Press Release:DC Water Christens Giant Tunnel Boring Machine
About the Tunnel Boring MachineDC Water Blue Plains Tunnel Alignment Map
Fact Sheet on "Lady Bird" TBM