Atlanta’s tunnel-boring machine has arrived and it needs a name that will last throughout the ages

Might we suggest ‘Bill Torpy?’

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??It’s like watching a Godzilla Movie!” Mayor Kasim Reed said on Wednesday as a flat-bed truck carrying the largest section of the city’s new tunnel boring machine pulled into a gravel lot that overlooked northwest Atlanta’s Bellwood Quarry. The truck was one of 70 that traveled from Ohio to Atlanta bringing pieces of what will become a 400-foot-long, spaceship-esque machine that will help turn the massive hole into an emergency drinking-water reservoir.

he new reservoir, which officials say will one day be surrounded by the city’s largest park, will hold 2.4 billion gallons of water, enough to provide the city with 30 days of drinking water in the event of an attack, crippling drought, or other emergency. Currently the city only has enough water in reserve to keep taps flowing for three days. Kishia Powell, the nominated Department of Watershed Management commissioner, says a single day without water would have a $100 million economic impact on the city.

rews will spend the next two months assembling the machine in the bottom of the quarry. They’ll switch it on and start drilling in the northeast corner toward DWM’s Hemphill facility. It will then travel toward the Chattahoochee River. Project officials say the $11.6 million machine will operate with 900 tons of thrust force and 1800 horsepower to crunch through medium-grade metamorphic rocks. 

ut enough with the details. It’s become somewhat of a tradition in cities that have used these earth eaters to give them names. Washington, D.C., had Ladybird. Los Angeles had Harriet. And Phyllis dug tunnels in London. Atlanta needs something that signifies history, vision, strength, and gusto. Something that we can look back on in 100 years and say, yep, that was a series of letters that made up a word. 

a class=”wiki external” target=”_blank” href=”http://h2o4atl.com/” rel=”external”>You can help decide what the machine’s name should be by voting here. We have heard some good ones mentioned already. We have compiled some of the best thus far and now ask for your guidance before submitting a formal entry.

embed-1After the jump, more photos from inside the quarry.