This 6-Mile Tunnel Cost $337M to Build with Today’s Inflation Rate

Rare | 5/31/2019 | Moriah Gill
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The Moffat Tunnel in Colorado is one of the state’s secrets kept tightly under wraps, with serious emphasis on the under because this underground railroad tunnel in Denver isn’t very widely known. They aren’t trying to hide it, but the tunnel is instead overshadowed by the Eisenhower Tunnel, mainly because Eisenhower is for automobiles and the Moffat was designed for trains. That doesn’t change the fact, however, that the Moffat tunnel is a revolutionary part of Colorado’s history.

David Moffat, the tunnel’s developer, was one of Colorado’s most influential financiers and industrialists. He was the man behind the Denver, Northwestern and Pacific Railway and his newest vision in 1902 was a new railroad. He was seeking a shorter route to travel from Denver to Salt Lake City, Utah. The ideal path would connect to the western part of Colorado by utilizing the Continental Divide. The Moffat Tunnel, if completed, would “eliminate 10,800 degrees of curvature” along the Rollins pass route, and would save hours in travel. This railroad itself, quickly accrued debt, however. Significant funds took a long time to obtain. Further, legislation concerned with Denver obtaining an upper hand in commerce if the tunnel were completed compromised progress.

Moffat - Tunnel

When was the Moffat Tunnel built?

After years of legal debate, physical railroad construction began in 1922. These pre-construction woes were not the only ones faced during production. Over the project’s course, 28 lives were lost in a cave-in, “bad rock” was struck near the west end of the tunnel. Situations like this increased the cost of production and stalled progress....
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