Sandhogs are New York’s legendary urban miners. We have built every tunnel in New York and the foundations for many of the city’s bridges. To understand how vital we are to the existence of this great metropolis just consider our many accomplishments. We sank the caissons that formed the foundations for the Brooklyn Bridge. We dug the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, and the Battery and Mid-Town tunnels – imagine how much harder it would be to get in and around New York without them. We built the subways that transport four million people a day. We built the sewer tunnels that rid this city of its waste and the steam tunnels that still provide so much of its power. Finally, we built all the water tunnels that bring the city’s water – a billion and a half gallons a day - to New York from many miles away. That’s right, New York City ran out of adequate drinking water more than a hundred years ago. Without the tunnels built by sandhogs New York would have ceased to exist around the time of the American Civil War.
The story of the Sandhogs is the story of New York. The city above grew where the sandhogs ventured below. For generations we have risked our lives to make this great city work. Building tunnels is tough and dangerous work, so to protect ourselves we formed a union – Local 147 of the Laborer’s International Union of North America (LIUNA) and we strive to make our job as safe as it can be.
Today we are busy on a number of projects – finishing the second stage of a vital new water tunnel – City Tunnel Number Three, extending the 7 line of the subway over to the far west side of Manhattan, connecting the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Station, and building a new filtration plant for the city’s water system in the Bronx. These are all projects vital to the city’s future and on each project we strive to work hard, efficiently and safely - as we always have. We are proud to be New York’s Sandhogs – the men who make New York work.
Walking Boss Morgan Curran and sandhogs of Local 147 tunnel beneath New York to complete the Croton Filtration Plant, a facility designed to help ensure the safety of the city's water supply. Sandhogs are the urban minors have dug every tunnel under NYC for generations. This has long been described as one of the world’s most dangerous jobs in the world. In fact, the Sandhogs traditionally lose about a man for every mile. This award winning documentary film tells their story, and the story of their biggest project ever: New York City’s third water tunnel. This time, the fate of the city literally depends on these men. Can the Sandhogs pull it off?