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What Should the City of Atlanta Name its Massive Drill?

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Department of Watershed Management asks Atlantans to name a new tunnel boring machine. This should end well

The City of Atlanta's Department of Watershed Management trusts Atlantans a lot ... or they haven’t gotten around to reading the news over the last few years.

In an effort to engage the public in a $300-million project that should provide Atlanta with a 30-day supply of emergency drinking water, city officials are asking residents to suggest names for a really large tunnel boring machine. Plans call for a giant tunnel to be drilled under Atlanta’s Westside, connecting the Hemphill Water Treatment Plant at 14th Street and Howell Mill Road to Bellwood Quarry.

Naming suggestions for Atlanta's ginormous penetrator are due by the end of July, and the winner will be unveiled this fall. The name will apparently stick for all time.

While theoretically a nice gesture, the whole naming contest thing has a way of going very wrong, very quickly. Given the outcome of many similar scenarios over the last few years, the contest is a decidedly risky venture.

Creative Loafing, for example, has a poll with journalist and constant nemesis of Mayor Kasim Reed Bill Torpy at the number one naming spot. Second is Drilly McDrillface — which is really an uncreative co-oping of a contest earlier this year that resulted in a research ship almost being named Boaty McBoatface. Maybe a comedian will even get involved like a decade ago when Stephen Colbert fans hijacked a bridge naming contest in Hungary; after all, a giant drill is fertile soil for immaturity/hilarity.

Whatever the name, hopefully Atlanta won’t bungle things as much as the folks in Seattle did with their drill Big Bertha.