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snopes 04 January 2013 04:48 AM

Equipment left behind
Comment: I just drove through the Eisenhower tunnel on I-70 in Colorado. I
heard a rumor that when they were building the tunnel a boring machine
went off cpourse, got stuck and they couldn't get it out. So they they
just buried it and left it under/beside the tunnel inside the mountain. I
couldn't find anything about this. Is it true?

Troberg 04 January 2013 07:27 AM

I'd say fake. Those machines don't run like cartoon moles, they are slow, very slow, and the alignment is constantly checked. It would have been stopped before it even got a few centimeters off course. Also, those machines are extremely expensive, so you don't just bury it if it would somehow get stuck, you disassemble it and remove it piece by piece if you have to.

Skeptic 04 January 2013 09:19 AM

I don't know about this specific case, but isn't it standard for one boring machine to be sacrificed when two meet in the middle.

Mad Jay 04 January 2013 02:19 PM

Yeah the boring ones always get left behind. *Remembers his teenage years and shudders*

GenYus234 04 January 2013 02:21 PM

Hopefully after a Thunderdome style deathmatch?

"Two borers enter! One borer leaves! Two borers enter! One borer leaves!"

Lainie 04 January 2013 02:59 PM


Originally Posted by Mad Jay (Post 1699202)
Yeah the boring ones always get left behind. *Remembers his teenage years and shudders*

:lol: Bravo, Jay!

Palantino 04 January 2013 06:30 PM

Apparently they leave borers in the NYC subway after work is completed.

Tootsie Plunkette 04 January 2013 07:56 PM

It's my understanding that those boring machines are constructed for each specific task, so there's no point in retrieving one when the job's done. But I could be wrong.

Nick Theodorakis 04 January 2013 07:59 PM

They are not suitable for another project, but they can be sold for scrap. If the cost of retrieving them from the tunnel exceeds the expected return on scrapping them then it makes sense to abandon them. I'm sure that varies depending on the project.


KirkMcD 04 January 2013 08:26 PM

It's not uncommon to bury a TBM or at least just it cutter heads, but there is nothing to indicate that it was done for the Eisenhower tunnel.
Besides, you couldn't just start over again unless you came from the other direction and then the story would be that they buried two TBMs, since you wouldn't be able to get the second one out either.

Both tunneling teams would eventually meet at a point closer to the French coast, as shown in Fig. 3. The issue that remained, however, was disposing of the immense TBMs within the tunnel. For the service tunnels, when the opposing TBMs were 100 m apart the French TBM was stopped and dismantled while the British TBM continued on for another 50 m before being turned on its side and buried. The remaining distance was dug using hand-held tools to allow for a small ceremony dedicating the historical breakthrough. The running tunnels took a reverse approach: the British TBM was buried with concrete below the tunnel floor while the French TBM tunneled through the remaining distance before being dismantled

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the decision to bury the machine’s cutterheads were appropriate as they were custom-made items that would take months of additional surface work to retrieve. “It is far cheaper and has far less impact on the local community to leave the cutter head in the ground,” she said.

Troberg 07 January 2013 08:00 AM

I think we must be thinking of different machines. The ones I've seen are huge beasts, cutting the entire width of the tunnel in one go. I'm sure they are not left behind.

gopher 14 February 2013 03:35 PM

The UK based Tunnel Boring Machines digging the channel tunnel were driven into the ground and left, the French ones were extracted.

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