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AlexRenew hosting celebration for newly re-emerged tunneling machine ‘Hazel’

Hazel emerging from under Alexandria in triumph (photo courtesy AlexRenew)

Like the sandworms of Dune, Alexandria’s own subterranean burrowing creature has become an object of reverence among local infrastructure geeks. The city’s boring machine, Hazel, is getting a public celebration next month.

AlexRenew is hosting a Mining Completion Open House on Saturday, April 13, celebrating Hazel’s return to the surface earlier today (Thursday).

The machine returned to the surface today for the first time since November 2022. Over the last 16 months, its been building a 2.2 mile tunnel under the city, aimed at preventing millions of gallons of combined sewage from spilling into the Potomac River.

“The subterranean star of the RiverRenew program has completed her two-mile-long journey to protect Alexandria’s waterways,” AlexRenew said in an event listing. “Join AlexRenew for a celebratory open house to meet the team and get a once-in-a-lifetime photo opp with Hazel the TBM.”

The event is scheduled for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 501 N. Union Street.

While the project is over 70% complete, the program likely won’t meet its state-mandated July 2025 deadline and it was given a one-year extension.

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