Bellwood Quarry | WABE 90.1 FM

Bellwood Quarry

Al Such / WABE

There's a drill digging a tunnel deep under Atlanta. It cuts through granite six nights a week, all night long, 300 to 400 feet below the ground.

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Eventually, it will connect Bellwood Quarry – recognizable, perhaps, from scenes in the Hunger Games, Walking Dead and Stranger Things – to the Chattahoochee River.

Now, the bottom of the quarry, where the tunnel starts, is a construction site.

Rapper Michael Render, aka 'Killer Mike,' talks to reporters inside Bellwood Quarry where a big drill named in his honor will dig a five-mile tunnel to the Chattahoochee River.
Susanna Capelouto / WABE

The city of Atlanta is honoring rapper Killer Mike by naming a giant piece of machinery after him. A 400-foot, custom-built boring machine that will dig a key piece of Atlanta's water infrastructure will now be known as Driller Mike. The name was unveiled at a ceremony.

Killer Mike’s first reaction when he heard that the machine might be named in his honor, was, he said with a laugh, “Bull****.”

“I thought it was a joke,” he said. “I literally thought it was just a joke I saw on Twitter.”

As the reality dawned on him, he said he was flattered.

Alison Guillory / WABE

The Atlanta Watershed Department has narrowed down the list of possible names for it's 400-foot-long rock-digging machine, and it's come down to a rapper, a tribute to Georgia's most famous crop, and "Gone with the Wind."

Brenna Beech / WABE

Atlanta is beginning work on what will become a reservoir holding an emergency backup water supply for the city. Right now, it's Bellwood Quarry, a gargantuan hole in the ground west of Midtown, set in what will one day be the city's largest park.

Alison Guillory / WABE

On March 1, buried down under all the options for presidential nominees, Atlantans will get to vote on whether or not to renew a tax that funds a big part of city’s water and sewer projects.

On one of the many rainy days this winter, stormwater rushes underground in the Historic Fourth Ward Park, headed toward a big pond that holds the excess water and takes pressure off the pipes.

Alison Guillory / WABE

As South Carolina struggled this week not only with floods, but also with a shortage of drinking water, Atlanta leaders worked to make sure if a disaster strikes here, the city will have a backup water supply.

Bellwood Quarry is used for film and TV shoots, including ''The Hunger Games''; which had a scene at this spot, and ''The Walking Dead.''
Brenna Beech / WABE

About a mile from Midtown, there’s a 400 foot hole in the ground. Bellwood Quarry was mined for a century. Now the city’s transforming it into a reservoir, and the hundreds of acres around it will eventually be Atlanta’s biggest park.

It looks like some place in the Rocky Mountains. Bellwood Quarry has steep granite walls and crystal clear water. A road snakes down the side to the bottom.  

Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond says he grew up near here. He remembers as a kid, the community was not happy with the quarry.

Bellwood Quarry sits west of Midtown Atlanta.
City of Atlanta

Eventually Bellwood Quarry will be big. Right now, it’s 300 acres of woods and trash, plus the quarry itself. But the plan is for it to be a huge new park on Atlanta’s Westside, and the committee dedicated to redeveloping the site will start meeting next year.

City councilman Michael Julian Bond formed the committee. He said the park will be a place to hold big concerts and festivals. There’s a creek running through it, forests and great views.

“I run into people every day that ask me what’s going on at that site,” Bond said. “They’re ready for a new park.”