- Atlanta Department of Watershed Management
Atlanta has a new tunnel borer, and thankfully it doesn’t have a long, technical name.
Instead, it’s called “Driller Mike,” after Killer Mike, the popular rapper and proud Atlanta resident who makes up one half of hip-hop duo Run the Jewels.
On Wednesday, the City of Atlanta unveiled the 400-foot-long tunnel-boring machine, which will eventually drill out a 5 mile underground reservoir that’s expected to hold 2.4 billion gallons of water – enough to sustain 1.2 million people for a month, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The city christened the $11.6 million machine “Driller Mike” at a ceremony at the Bellwood Quarry in northwest Atlanta. Killer Mike, who made news earlier this year for his strong support of Bernie Sanders, joined officials at the unveiling.
— City of Atlanta, GA (@Cityofatlanta) September 21, 2016
“It was the funniest thing in the world to me. I didn’t take it seriously, because I’m a rapper. Cities don’t associate themselves with rappers,” Killer Mike told the Associated Press. “But I’m a business owner, a dad, an active member of politics in Atlanta, so I was honestly honored that people in Atlanta saw fit to name something after me.”
At the ceremony, the city also demonstrated the drill’s 12-foot diamond head:
— City of Atlanta, GA (@Cityofatlanta) September21, 2016
The $300 million drilling project will connect the Bellwood Quarry to the nearby Chattahoochee River and Hemphill Water Treatment Plant. The machine will create the deepest tunnel in the state, which is expected to be finished by the end of 2018.
The naming of the drill had been in the works for a while – earlier this year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the city held an open submission for names, which drew over 700 suggestions. The city narrowed it down to three options: “Peach Beast,” “Scarlett,” and “Driller Mike,” which won the public vote.