|06-04-2011, 08:57 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2008
Likes: 11 (8 Posts)
White House Underground Tunnel Being Built
-On the website there are pictures with captions I didn't include here.
"Is a secret lair being built under the White House? West Wing vanishes behind a fence in $86 million ear-splitting project
The West Wing of the White House is all-but disappearing behind an $86 million building project that is going to last for years.
And a mysterious tunnel is being built, fuelling speculation that a secret underground lair is what's really under construction.
In recent weeks, an expanding and sometimes ear-splitting zone of excavation has enveloped the mansion's famous office wing.
Under construction: Work goes on near the West Wing of the White House. The four-year project will cost $86 million
Heavy equipment and metal-and-concrete superstructures are part of the vast construction project.
The front door and the Marine who guards it have disappeared behind a high green-and-white plywood fence. From Pennsylvania Avenue, all that's visible is a sliver of second-floor roof line.
For years to come, the front yard at 1600 Pennsylvania will remain a noisy building site, say officials in charge of the White House's 'Big Dig'.
Officials describe the job as an overdue upgrade of underground utilities. That includes water and sewer lines, electrical conduits, pipes for chilled and hot water and steam heat systems, and storm sewers. Heating, air conditioning and fire alarm systems are being replaced. Some systems are getting backups.
Major work: Construction includes a mysterious tunnel which has led to speculation of a secret underground lair
To build the tunnel, crews have poured in huge concrete pylons, put up retaining walls and brought in truckloads of steel beams.
The construction site has expanded from in front of the West Wing around to the side and across a parking lot to the next-door Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
The General Services Administration, which is supervising the work, has denied the tunnel is a new shelter - just an access to the utilities.
Noise: Former White House press aide Robert Gibbs offered to spray paint the fence blocking his office view
Noise: Former White House press aide Robert Gibbs offered to spray paint the fence blocking his view
Spokesman Sahar Wali said the steel and concrete is needed 'to create enough space and a pathway for replacement of the new utilities infrastructure at the proper depth and location'.
She said the construction was not putting in place long-standing plans for underground office space or an underground driveway entrance.
Of course, there would not be much point in telling everyone about building a secret tunnel (after all, the emphasis is on secret).
West Wing officials, especially those with offices nearest the construction, have endured painful spells of drilling and banging. Holding meetings and doing routine business amid the din has become a major challenge.
Josh Earnest, a deputy in the press office, found himself doing phone interviews on President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech as a worker jackhammered concrete inches from his window. The next day, when a second jackhammer arrived, he phoned project managers to beg for a reprieve. The work was postponed.
'They have been very respectful of the fact that we still have to keep an important operation running here,' Mr Earnest said.
Visitors to the West Wing now must navigate a temporary walkway that curves behind Pebble Beach — as the zone where TV reporters do stand-ups is called — and arches over the digging before swinging out of view behind the construction fence.
Foreign leaders arriving by motorcade often have to use another entrance. Beyond the main West Wing driveway, the construction has shut down one entrance leading to the White House residence quarters that's used for deliveries of flowers, produce and other supplies.
That fencing has cost some of the most coveted offices in America their sweeping views.
Former press secretary Robert Gibbs said: 'I've threatened to go spray paint it and make it a little bit more aesthetically pleasing.'
For most of those who work in the White House complex, the noise is the worst part. In addition to the jackhammers and bulldozers, a heavy crane that drills large earthen cores is the biggest offender, shivering and clanking as it shakes off dirt after each bore. TV correspondents facing nearby cameras have to shout to be heard.
The noise won't be going away any time soon.
The West Wing dig is but the first step in a multiphase $376 million project that will eventually progress across the White House grounds — and last for a total of four years.
What lies beneath: The secret passageway, Armageddon-proof bunker (and basement bowling alley) under the President's feet.
The White House already has a number of tunnels — the exact number is, of course, classified.
The most well known is the underground corridor that leads to the President's Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), a supposedly nuclear-proof bunker located six stories under the East Wing.
It was to this bunker and its adjacent Executive Briefing Room that Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, among others, directed Government operations on September 11, 2001.
While Hollywood and many conspiracy theorists suggest a rabbit warren of subterranean passageways — including mythical tunnels to Capitol Hill and even Camp David — there is at least one hidden passageway that has been revealed in the famous residence.
A 50-yard tunnel leads from a concealed doorway in the Oval Office to the basement of the First Family's residence in the East Wing.
The clandestine passage was built during Ronald Reagan's presidency as a way to guard the President in a terrorist attack.
Pressing a panel on a wall adjacent to the President's rest room next to the Oval Office causes a secret door to slide open, leading to a staircase down to the passageway.
There is also talk of a tunnel linking the White House to Blair House across Pennsylvania Avenue.
Many presidents have made alterations to the building, built between 1792 and 1800.
While most of the alterations have been cosmetic alterations, the bunker that is now the PEOC was constructed during the Second World War for President Roosevelt.
The White House is also one of the first Washington public buildings to be adapted for wheelchair access, also for Roosevelt.
President Harry Truman completely refurbished the property in 1948, after it was declared to be in imminent danger of collapse. Truman moved into Blair House for the course of the rebuilding.
Computers and the first laser printer were installed during the Carter administration. Solar panels were also installed on the roof — later removed during the Reagan administration.
The house has a tennis court, a movie theatre, a jogging track, a swimming pool (located underneath the current press conference room), and a putting green.
By far the coolest addition, however, is a single-lane bowling alley in the basement — installed by bowling-mad president Richard Nixon."
|07-04-2011, 11:36 AM||#4|
Join Date: Nov 2010
Likes: 0 (0 Posts)
I am pretty sure they aren't building indipendent bunkers down there.
I would say they are building the "safe exit" which is the link to the previously existing underground net which is already in place (built in the last 50 years).
Probably a station of a highly technologic mean of transport such as magnetic underground train or similar which the presidential elite will use to get to a safe underground base when thing will start to go bad.