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December 5, 2007

I Know A Guy

Q: Mike, how was it that you got to visit the work site of the East Side Access project, hundreds of feet under Manhattan, and check out a real Tunnel Boring Machine?
A: I Know a Guy

I definitely never thought I'd actually get to say that. Fortunately, the guy I know told me to bring a camera. The battery was dying so I didn't get to snap that many pics, but what I got follows. I think these pictures capture, to a degree, how messy the prospect of assembling a TBM way under ground really is.

The overriding feeling I had throughout was of being inside, around, and on top of a Sandworm in the novel Dune. What really impressed me was the number of people necessary just to put one of these things together, and the enthusiasm of all the people working on the project (sweating it out under 200 feet of bedrock).

The entrance to the work site, in Sunnyside, Queens



The 30+ years old but never used LIRR tunnel under the East River



The beast itself:

So, point being, East Side Access is really happening! This visit was in late August, just before the machine was brought on line. Perhaps I'll get to visit again to see it in action.

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