Rachel Maddow explores the SAS launch box

By · Published in 2010

The tunnel boring machine head and much of the trailing equipment have progressed through the launch box and south down Second Ave. since its launch two weeks ago. (Photo via The Rachel Maddow Show on flickr)

In mid-May, I took a trip into the Second Ave. Subway launch box as part of the MTA’s ceremonial launch of the tunnel boring machine. On Friday, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow did the same, with a video camera in tow.

She ended her Geek Week special with a look at some impressive infrastructure projects. Although I’ve questioned whether or not Phase 1 of the SAS is a megaproject, the work going on underground is certainly impressive in scope, and Maddow brought it to light in an 11-minute segment, embedded below.

What I like most about Maddow’s coverage is the accompanying flickr photo set. By comparing her pictures with mine, we can see how far the 500-foot-long tunnel boring machine has dug out since it started work two weeks ago. For now, progress will be slow and steady, and the TBM should complete the two tunnels by next November.

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10 Responses to “Rachel Maddow explores the SAS launch box”

  1. Rick says:

    Too bad no one watches Rachel Maddow.

  2. Scott E says:

    Interesting. The TBM has to anchor itself to the sides, otherwise it would push itself backwards rather than drill forwards. And the rock isn’t as good quality as they had hoped, so they’ve got to freeze it.

    There’s always another layer of complexity that makes the delays a bit more understandable and forgivable.

  3. Marsha says:

    Hey, you beat her to it!

  4. Anon says:

    OT: NYC (Subway) Returns to Hollywood

    • The Boss says:

      Since when does the #4, 5 and 6 stops at 110th Street? and since when is the Lexington Avenue Line is known as the read line?

      The folks in Hollywood got the how thing W-R-O-N-G.

      Good luck

  5. Kai B says:

    How does it use GPS? Wires to the surface?

  6. The Boss says:

    Finally a lesson in tunnel borrowing technology.

  7. Mitch45 says:

    After watching this video and seeing how difficult it really is to build a subway tunnel, I have even more respect for the sandhogs who built the original IRT lines, mostly by hand with shovels, picks and dynamite and hand operated primitive boring machines. If this is so difficult in 2010, imagine how difficult it was in 1900.

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