Dallas brings out ‘Big Tex’ boring machine for flood tunnel

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Updated Dec 22, 2019
Big Tex. Image: Screen Shot from Southland Holdings video.Big Tex. Image: Screen Shot from Southland Holdings video.

The city of Dallas is preparing to build a 5-mile flood-protection tunnel, and “Big Tex” will do the honors.

The tunnel boring machine is 220 feet long and was recently assembled and unveiled for the city’s $300 million Mill Creek Drainage Relief Tunnel.

Big Tex will bore the first 9,000 feet of the tunnel at a diameter of 37.7 feet, and then it will be converted to a diameter of 32.6 feet for the rest of the tunnel, the city says.

Southland Holdings won the contract for the project, which expects to hire over 300 people and is seeking workers, according to the company.

“Big Tex will work 24 hours a day to excavate the tunnel with crews ranging in size depending on activities,” said Rachel Sackett, marketing and communications director, Southland Holdings. “With a project of this size, we are always hiring those eager to grow their career or learn a new skilled trade. We encourage those seeking job opportunities to visit our website.”

The flood-protection tunnel is scheduled to be completed in 2023. It is designed to provide 100-year flood protection for commercial and residential areas in east Dallas, where the current drainage system is 50 to 70 years old.

The tunnel is designed to handle up to 9 million gallons of minute of water and will have six intake sites. To reduce noise for surrounding businesses and neighborhoods, 26-foot-high perimeter sound walls will be built at the outfall site, and 16- to 24-foot sound abatement walls will be built around four intake sites, the city says.

Big Tex’s route, as shown on this map by the city of DallasBig Tex’s route, as shown on this map by the city of Dallas