TBM Naming Contest is Closed


As part of the improvements for the Segment 3 project, a four mile long storage and drainage tunnel will be constructed approximately 100 feet below the freeway from Myers Avenue to just north of 12 Mile Road. The tunnel will be constructed by a state-of-the-art Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) which should arrive onsite at the beginning of April 2020. In keeping with custom, we are asking for the public’s help in naming our TBM and in so doing honoring a famous woman in Michigan. 



A Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) is generally named after a woman as a sign of good luck for the project ahead. Naming digging equipment after women is a tradition that dates to the 1500s when miners prayed to St. Barbara to keep them safe underground. Workers looked to Saint Barbara for protection as she is the patron saint for military engineers, miners and others who work underground.


OCP has nominated five women honored by the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame who have made a difference in the world and specifically in Oakland County. 

Here are the 5 nominees:

Ethel Calhoun

Ethel Calhoun, M.D. pioneered use of the techniques for the treatment of polio at a time when the accepted treatment for polio was the application of splints and casts. She practiced medicine in downtown Detroit for five years. During polio epidemics in the 1940s and 50s, Dr. Calhoun supervised Kenny care at the Oakland County Contagious Hospital.  Dr. Calhoun was named one of Detroit’s ten top women who work, and honored by the Michigan State Medical Society for fifty years of dedicated service.    ethel-calhoun bio Information 

Hilda R. Gage 

Judge Gage was the first woman ever elected chairperson to the National Conference of State Trial Judges of the American Bar Association. She was also the first woman elected president of the Michigan Judges Association (1988), and the first woman to be chosen by her 15 colleagues to be Chief Judge of Oakland County Circuit Court. Hilda Gage served as an inspiration to people with disabilities. Although she had multiple sclerosis, she contributed to health care and human service as a trustee at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and was a director in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She was also the founder and director of the Michigan Dysautonomia Foundation Chapter.   hilda-r-gage bio information

Eliza Seaman Leggett

Eliza Seaman Leggett was an active participant in the Underground Railroad and her Waterford Township home in Oakland County was a stop on the legendary Underground Railroad. Upon the end of slavery, Ms. Leggett turned her attention towards the suffrage movement and to helping women in need. During the 1870s she devised, co-founded, and implemented the Young Woman’s Home Association for the young working women of Detroit. She was instrumental in making Belle Isle a public park for the people of Detroit. She also ensured that public drinking fountains and horse watering troughs were placed throughout the city of Detroit.  eliza-seaman-leggett bio information

Naomi Long Madgett

Dr. Madgett, a professional poet since 1941, is the poet laureate of Detroit and was a professor emerita of English at Eastern Michigan University, where she taught African American literature and creative writing. An English teacher at Detroit’s Northwestern High School, Dr. Madgett introduced into the curriculum the first accredited classes in African American literature and creative writing. She was also a leader in the drive for fairer representation of African Americans in textbooks. Dr. Madgett became the first Mott Fellow in English and worked as a research associate at Oakland University. She has also won the National Council of Teachers of English Black Caucus Award and the Michigan Artist Award.  naomi-long-madgett bio information 

Josephine Stern Weiner

Josephine Stern Weiner devoted nearly 70 years to community service, successfully establishing programs to help women achieve independence and to assure children of a secure future.  Ms. Weiner was President of the Greater Detroit Section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and was instrumental in establishing Orchards Children’s Services and Women in Community Services (WICS). WICS is a coalition of the NCJW, the National Council of Negro Women, the National Council of Catholic Women, Church Women United, and the G.I. Forum. WICS works with the Job Corps to provide disadvantaged young women the opportunity to succeed in the workplace and the world.    

josephine-stern-weiner bio information


The winner of the TBM Naming Contest is: 

Eliza Seaman Leggett  

Thank you to all who participated!