This 200-Ton Earth Worm Is Now Dying Under New York

Right now, there's a 22-foot-wide metal monster dying 14 stories below park avenue. Together with its twin brother, it excavated 346,607 cubic yards (265,000 cubic meters) of bedrock in a 30,000-foot-long (5.6 miles) tunnel.

Now the engineers behind the East Side Access Project—a tunnel that connects New York's Grand Central Terminal to another terminal in Queens—have decided to let the machine die, abandoned to rot after excavating its own tomb under Manhattan. But why leave it there?

The answer is simple: The machine is too old to keep working after completing the job, which started in 2006. The engineers at Dragados, the Spanish company behind the $7 billion East Side Access project, have decided to let the Double Shield Tunnel Boring Machine rot underground instead of taking it out, a feat which would cost $9 million. That's way more than the machine would fetch if sold for scrap metal.

The 22-foot-long monster—manufactured by SELI of Rome, Italy—worked alongside another 22-foot TBM and an army of heavy machinery that included:

• One 12-ton Sandvik MT720 header,
• One 22.7 Schöma locomotive.
• Two boom Jumbo drill.
• One Robo Drill with 22-foot slides.
• Caterpillar 980 and 966 loaders.
• A Grove 35-ton cherry picker crane.
• A Manitowoc 777 175-ton crawler crane with a 110-foot (33.5 m) boom
• One PM500 shotcrete robot by Allentown.

That's an impressive army of machines.

Maybe now we New Yorkers can stop bitching about the Metropolitan Transportation Authority not investing in the network.[Construction Equipment, New York Times, Construction (PDF)]

This 200-Ton Earth Worm Is Now Dying Under New York

A part of the 9 kilometer tunnel joining Long Island with Grand Central.

This 200-Ton Earth Worm Is Now Dying Under New York

An image of the machine in its resting place.

This 200-Ton Earth Worm Is Now Dying Under New York

The 12-ton Sandvik MT720, one of the little helpers.