Construction of the largest and final segment of the Anacostia River Tunnel System is set to begin in July. Part of DC Water’s $2.7-billion Clean Rivers Project to comply with the Clean Water Act, the project includes a 13.1-mile long tunnel system—to be completed in 2023—that will capture 98% sewage overflows to the Anacostia River. 

But before work on the final five-mile section of the tunnel began, DC Water named the project’s newest tunnel boring machine after the late Christopher Allen during a June 26 ceremony. While tunnel-boring machines, like ships, are traditionally named for women, DC Water broke with tradition and named the TBM after its former assistant director for the Clean Rivers Project. Allen, who died late last year, managed all of the Clean Rivers’ construction projects, including the Blue Plains Tunnel, which was ENR’s Project of the Year for 2016.

Experienced in construction management, general contracting, consulting field supervision and program management, Allen managed projects at major international airports, the Pentagon and other large capital improvement projects before he joined DC Water in 2011. Prior to working in construction, Allen served in the U.S. Marines from 1968-69.

David Gadis, DC Water’s chief executive and general manager, said in a statement that Allen was “a man whose influence will long live on in the projects to which he has contributed his talents, and to the people to whom he has given great inspiration.”

Gadis added, “We celebrate today with the local communities who will benefit from healthier waterways and for those who have experienced flooding in northeast DC that the complete tunnel system will significantly reduce.” 

A joint venture of Salini Impregilo and S.A. Healy was selected for the $580-million design-build Northeast Boundary Tunnel project.  

On March 20, DC Water opened its first Anacostia River tunnel segment, under construction since 2013. The segment has prevented approximately 92% of combined sewer overflows from entering the Anacostia since beginning operation.