Photo gallery Tunneling under Bascom Hill
A huge, custom-made borer has started drilling a 640-foot-long tunnel under Bascom Hill to carry utilities. The borer, 9 feet, 8 inches in diameter, was lowered into a reinforced earthen pit between South Hall and the Law Building, where it runs on hydraulic tracks installed there, filling carts with earth as it excavates the face of the tunnel. The tunnel will lead from the northeast corner of Bascom Hall underneath Bascom Hill to South Hall, and then to Lathrop Hall, and it will accommodate pipes and lines carrying steam, chilled water, condensate, compressed air, and electric lighting. It replaces a century-old, smaller tunnel that was dug by hand.
The boring started at South Hall on Nov. 9 and will end at Bascom in about 3 weeks, covering about 8 feet a day. Boring the tunnel from Lathrop Hall to South Hall will occur during January, and will also take 3-4 weeks. The project is being managed by State of Wisconsin’s Division of Facilities Development and Management, and the machinery was custom-made by Minger Construction of Jordan, Minn. for the project, under contract of J.H. Findorff and Son, the General Prime Contractor. But don’t worry, the borer has a Bucky Badger logo, not a Goldy Gopher one.
Construction workers prepare to lower by crane an 11-foot diameter tunnel bore head – adorned with a logo of Bucky Badger – down into a reinforced earthen pit to starts its work.
A crane lifts the bore head before lowering it into a hole to begin its tunneling work.
The borer runs along these hydraulic tracks.
The bore head is lowered down into the reinforced earthen pit between South Hall and the Law Building.
An operator sits here inside the tunnel bore head.
The view from the operator's seat.
The bore head is put into place in the reinforced earthen pit.
Patrick Minger, CEO of Minger Construction of Jordan, Minn., explains how his company's custom-made 11-foot diameter tunnel bore head works.