Final names up for voting in tunnel boring machine naming contest

Seattle Public Utilities has narrowed down possible tunnel boring machine names to just five and are now asking the public to vote on their favorite.

After receiving 1,200 submissions, the finalists are:

  1. Daphne (everyone’s favorite freshwater planktonic crustaceans)
  2. Molly the Mole (moles dig great holes)
  3. Boris the Plunger (JP Patches fans, this one’s for you)
  4. Sir Digs-A-Lot (We like big drills and we cannot lie)
  5. MudHoney (Because Seattle, baby!)

Voting is open now and will remain open until next Wednesday, March 31. (You can vote here). The winner will be announced in mid-April.

The tunnel boring machine is currently still being pieced together in the downtown Ballard project site as part of the Ship Canal Water Quality Project. The machine will help dig the 2.7-mile, 18-foot diameter storage tunnel along the Ship Canal to capture stormwater runoff and improve water in the Ship Canal and Salmon Bay by 2025.

SPU says they’ll continue assembling the tunnel boring machine at the 24th Ave NW and Shilshole project site and preparing the shaft for tunneling operations that will begin this summer.

During this time, SPU says you can expect the following:

  • More heavy equipment to arrive on site, such as cranes, potentially at night.
  • Truck deliveries of paving material, concrete, and equipment for the TBM and associated tunnel activities

Working hours are expected to be 7 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, with weekend work expected over the next few months while the team prepares for tunneling.

In East Ballard, crews will continue ground improvement works at NW 45th St. You can expect the following:

  • NW 45th St closed to traffic; vehicles must detour onto NW 46th St.
  • Burke-Gilman Trail users remain detoured to the north side of NW 45th St; flaggers to help direct traffic during daytime working hours. Please follow all detour guidance on site. Bicyclists must cross train tracks at 90-degree angles. Please use extra caution in wet weather as ramps may be slippery.
  • Both lanes of 11th Ave NW south of NW 45th St are now open and will remain open for approximately another month.
  • Noise and vibrations typical of a construction site.

Regular work hours will be Monday through Friday, 7 am to 5 pm, with occasional night and weekend work to maintain progress.

At the Fremont site, crews will continue utility work at NW 36th St to prepare the site for the equipment required to support the 8-foot conveyance tunnel. You can expect the following at this site:

  • Dump trucks and excavators working on site and an uptick in traffic in Leary Way NW as trucks haul away excavated material and bring concrete to the site.
  • NW 36th St between Leary Way NW and 3rd Ave NW closed (through remainder of the project).
  • Pedestrians detoured to the north side of Leary Way NW.
  • A pump and bypass system running 24/7 to re-route an existing drainage line around the drop shaft. This system is powered by a generator and will be in place for several more weeks.
  • Generators running constantly to power the dewatering pumps until permanent power is available on site.
  • As early as April, 2nd Ave NW, between Leary Way NW and NW Canal St, will be closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic to conduct sewer and diversion structure work. This closure is anticipated to last through the end of the year.
  • As early as April, crews will be installing a new water main in Leary Way NW. This work will intermittently close up to two travel lanes at a time, but two-way traffic will be maintained and assisted by flaggers. If you live near the site, there may be a short, temporary water shut off. If your service will be impacted, you’ll receive a door hanger with more information. 

Regular work hours will be Monday through Friday from 7 am to 5 pm, with occasional night and weekend work to maintain progress.

To learn more about the ongoing project and the Wallingford and Queen Anne work sites, visit the Ship Canal Water Quality Project website.

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