Tunnel boring machine named ‘MudHoney’ digs into Seattle

By Jenny LescohierAugust 13, 2021

Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) "MudHoney" has launched in Seattle to begin excavation on a 2.7-mile, 18-ft-10-in diameter tunnel that will prevent, on average, up to 75 million gallons of polluted stormwater and sewage from entering the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Salmon Bay and Lake Union each year

The Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) “MudHoney” has launched in Seattle to begin excavation on a 2.7-mile, 18-ft 10-in diameter tunnel that will prevent, on average, up to 75 million gallons of polluted stormwater and sewage from entering the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Salmon Bay and Lake Union each year.

In April, crews lowered MudHoney into the 107-ft deep, 80-ft diameter shaft in Ballard, WA. Ballard will be home to the western end of the tunnel and above-ground facilities supporting the tunnel. Tunnel boring will start at this site and move toward Fremont and Wallingford.

Seattle Public Utilities launched an online vote to pick a name for the 900,000-lb drill that will spend the next 14 months digging the tunnel. “MudHoney” is a nod to one of Seattle’s beloved rock bands.

The Ship Canal Water Quality Project is a $570-million project. The Lane Construction Corporation, U.S. subsidiary of the Webuild Group, has a $255 million share of the project. The project is expected to be completed by 2025.

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