Tunnel Project for Herrenknecht AG

Commercial Photography, Construction Photography

A day inside a tunnel!

I was hired back in June to work a company named Herrenknecht AG , they are a German company who builds and operates tunnel boring machines.

They have a massive project here in Rhode Island in Pawtucket for the Narragansett Bay Commission. 

Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) has commissioned the third and final phase (Phase IIIA) of Pawtucket CSO tunnel project. This phase of the program will be executed as a Design-Build project and is focused primarily on the Bucklin Point Service Area. Phase IIIA includes a 30 ft (9.1 m) ID TBM tunnel, ancillary underground features (i.e. drop shafts, launch shaft, receiving shaft, tunnel pump station shaft, adit tunnels) to support the functionality of the tunnel to serve as a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) storage facility. The tunnel is designed to have sufficient volume to store all contributing overflows during a storm event up to the three-month storm for subsequent pump-out and treatment.

A view inside the tunnel for the Narragansett Bay Commision Phase 3 in Pawtucket RI

Before starting the project, on the shoot day, we had a safety meeting to ensure we all knew the precautions to take. We learned about the safety when working on a massive job like this.  Once we completed this we made our way outside to the site.  We walked the entire above ground area of the site and photographed all phases of the construction. There were many large pieces of machinery that helped excavate the earth on the project. Some would move the dirt and debris from the tunnel all the way out to be moved to a holding area. There was a crane set up also to move the segments of cement pieces that create the tunnel. That will be another blog on how those are built for this particular job. They also happen to be a client of mine.

Shooting a photography project in an underground tunnel can be a fascinating and challenging endeavor. The unique environment of the tunnel provides an opportunity to capture interesting compositions, play with light and shadows, and create a sense of mystery.

Photographing an underground tunnel can present some challenges though, such as limited light, confined spaces, and safety concerns. It’s  was crucial to plan my photography session carefully and take any necessary safety precautions.

Working underground can indeed be a unique and exciting experience! It offers a different perspective and presents various challenges that are not encountered in typical above-ground photography.

We entered an elevator and proceeded down 850 feet below the surface to the tunnel floor.  We then got into a vehicle and it took us 2 miles in to where the machine was working.  It was an unique experience to work with this company on this.

I embraced the excitement of the project and used this opportunity to push my creative boundaries as a photographer.