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Lady Bird Tunnel Boring Machine

LadyBird Progress
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TBM 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.

This tunnel boring machine (TBM) is being used to dig the first portion, known as the Blue Plains Tunnel, a 4-mile section of the 13-mile Anacostia River Tunnel.

Lady Bird
Age: 1 year
Height: Tall
Weight: Never ask a Lady!
Length: 442' fully assembled
Pace: At full speed, up to 125 ft per day
Friends: @MomChungtheTBM,
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 began tunneling on July 29, 2013. You can follow her journey under Blue Plains, along the Potomac and up to the Anacostia River on the graphic at the top of the this page, and on Twitter @LadyBirdTBM.

Press Release:

DC Water Christens Giant Tunnel Boring Machine

About the Tunnel Boring Machine

DC Water Blue Plains Tunnel Alignment Map
Fact Sheet on "Lady Bird" TBM

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