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Kids, it’s time to play…Name that tunneling machine!

The Washington State Department of Transportation is sponsoring a contest for kindergarten through 12

th grade students to name the State Route 99 tunnel boring machine (TBM), which is the largest-diameter boring machine built to date. In mid-2013, it will start tunneling beneath downtown Seattle, creating the replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct along the central waterfront. The contest winner will have their selected name painted on the TBM and will be invited to attend the dedication event next year in Seattle.

This is a great opportunity for Washington state students to learn more about this massive infrastructure project and the advances in tunneling technology that make it possible. Be sure to visit our website to learn more about the project’s history and how a tunnel boring machine works.

Entries will be judged by a panel including Gov. Chris Gregoire and Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. If the winning name is submitted by more than one contest participant, the judges will determine the winner based on the essay. The winner will be announced in December, when project officials travel to Japan and Seattle Tunnel Partners takes ownership of the completed TBM.

Contest deadline:

Entries are due by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13. A contestant’s entry must include a TBM name and a 200-word-or-less description of why they chose it. A classroom of students may submit a name collectively.

Three ways to enter:

  • Online at
  • In person at Milepost 31, 211 First Ave. S, Seattle, WA, 98104.
  • By mail – Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, Attn: Natalie Graves, 999 Third Ave., Suite 2424, Seattle, WA 98104.

Check the WSDOT website for contest details, rules and restrictions.

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