Voting ends tonight for a contest that Seattle is holding to name their new tunnel boring machine. Among the five finalists remaining are “MudHoney,” after the Seattle grunge band of that name and “Sir Diggs-a-Lot” after Sir Mix-a-Lot, the Seattle rapper known for “Baby Got Back.”
Those who wish to vote on the finalists can do so here. One of the other finalists is “Daphne,” after ‘daphnia,’ a type of water flea that feeds on algae and is credited with making Lake Washington much clearer during the 1970s. “Molly the Mole” is another, likening the drill to the tunnel-digging animals with its alliterative name. “Boris the Plunger” is the final finalist, referencing boring with the name ‘Boris.’
— mudhoney (@mudhoney) March 30, 2021
Over the course of about 14 months, the tunnel-boring machine will build a 2.7-mile storage tunnel under the north shore of the Ship Canal between Ballard and Wallingford, according to Seattle Public Utilities and the King County Wastewater Treatment Division’s plans. The tunnel is set to be 18’10’’ in diameter, and will collect approximately 75 million gallons of sewage and stormwater per year to prevent it from flowing into the Ship Canal, Lake Union and Salmon Bay.
Some of the first underground drills Seattle named were Balto and Togo, after the famous sled-dogs and Bertha, after Bertha Knight Landes, the first female mayor for a major American city and, until 2017, Seattle’s only female mayor. Bertha unfortunately ran into an unmapped subterranean steel pipe, was delayed for over two years and was recently dismantled. Because of the circumstances, Seattle stuck with the ‘boring’ names “Tunnel-Boring Machine 1” and “Tunnel-Boring Machine 2″ for the next machines after that.
Now, Seattle has drilled down from over 1,200 submissions to choose these five finalists for their new tunnel-boring machine. According to Seattle Public Utilities, the other submissions included a whole lot of poop jokes, lesser-known sci-fi references, variations on references to “Boaty McBoatface” such as “Drilly McTunnel,” celebrity puns such as “Leonardo DiCrappio,” “J.P. Patches” after the Seattle children’s show, “Bertha 2.0,” “Scandinavia” and many other variations on names for moles.
Photo credit: Stephen Hoffmeister