The first piece of the tunnel boring machine arrives at Bellwood Quarry. (Courtesy Atlanta Watershed)
The first piece of the tunnel boring machine arrives at Bellwood Quarry. (Courtesy Atlanta Watershed)

What to call it? The Tunnel Master? The Water Monster? The Big Bore?

Atlanta city officials have received the big machine that will bore a tunnel to build a new reservoir and increase the city’s water supply. Now they want to give the 400-foot-long machine its own nickname.

The $11.6 million boring machine will excavate rocks to create a tunnel 12 feet in diameter, connecting the Chattahoochee River and the Hemphill Water Treatment Plant to the new reservoir – the former pit at the Bellwood Quarry (made world famous after its appearance in The Walking Dead). The project is scheduled for completion by December 2018. The old quarry is also the site of the future Westside Reservoir Park, which is connected to the Atlanta BeltLine.

“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,” Watershed Management Commissioner Kishia Powell said in a city press 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.”

If you have an idea for a moniker for the machine (It’s official name is “the tunnel boring machine.”) go to h2o4atl.com. Three finalists will be announced Aug. 5.

The city’s Watershed Department says it also had launched an Instagram account to track the machine’s progress.

 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.