The Cumberland Gap Tunnel: One big, fat anomaly

Cargo bays run end to end in Cumberland Gap Tunnel

Cargo bays. A lot of them. Lining the entire length of the tunnel, separating the north and south bound lanes. According to former workers they are rooms, and in these rooms are more doors, leading from one room to the next. It is not a simply a hallway between two ends of a tunnel like you might think.

The ceiling of the southbound side of the tunnel is significantly higher than the north bound side. Is it to accommodate larger military vehicles? Could the tunnel be some kind of “flight deck” or loading zone for fast, efficient loading of arms, even nuclear arms, on military vehicles in times of conflict?

mysterious doors in the tunnel lead deep into cumberland mountain

Little is known about these doors as current employees of the tunnel are forbidden to enter.

Former workers that helped build the tunnel say the door on the right of the northbound lane leads you to the water pouring down inside the mountain that makes up the lake the tunnel is supposedly built over.

The door on the right in the southbound lane leads you to the underground lake itself. This lake has no measurable depth. The former workers weren’t sure of it’s surface area either, for a miner’s headlamp shone across the waters would still not reveal an opposite shore. In other words, it’s big.

Still another door opens to another passage leading into the mountain above the southbound lane in the second story of the tunnel in what I refer to as the administrative section of the tunnel:  the office-and-lobby-type areas behind the big glass windows. No one has any information about this passageway, other than the door is often propped open at night, visible when you are entering the northbound side of the tunnel toward Kentucky.

Other than this information, no one knows how much farther these passageways lead into the mountain, or their ultimate destination.

Extensive security cameras in place designed by former Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists

Ipix is a Tennessee company that makes surveillance cameras capable of projecting 360-degeree panoramic images. This company was founded in Oak Ridge by former scientists from the nuclear laboratory. These scientists’ company initially started working with “recording robots” for use in nuclear plants. But the invention of their PhotoBubbles and 360-degree camera surveillance put them at Cumberland Gap Tunnel, in what they describe as “mission critical imaging”.

IPIX Security is the leading supplier of Full-360 degree video surveillance technology for critical government and commercial security applications.

and

IPIX Security is a division of IPIX Corporation, a leader in mission critical imaging.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ipix-technology-evaluation-successful-us-congressman-sees-national-potential-72240267.html

Congressman Wamp called the tunnel a “critical part of our nation’s infrastructure” and the reason why the expensive, high tech cameras were needed. If this is true, then how much more critical are the tunnels located on major interstates like I-40 and I-77?  Yet these tunnels have no security cameras, let alone state-of-the-art cameras invented by nuclear scientists from the Secret City.

Hazmat escorts that seem more for the tunnel’s protection than ours

They make hazardous materials trucks, like gasoline tankers, pull off for private escort when both sides of the tunnel are open and operating normally.

They send the same hazmat trucks through the tunnel with regular traffic when they are working on one side of the tunnel. This destroys the logic that they make hazmat trucks stop for escort for our protection.

Not only do the hazmat truckers have to stop for escort through the tunnel 99% of the time, their records and logs are carefully checked by tunnel personnel while they are waiting.

Trucks that display a hazardous material placard are required to stop at the Cumberland Gap Tunnel inspection lanes. After stopping in the lane, a CGTA operator requests information from the driver such as Trucking Company name and address, DOT #, Truck license #, Truck Order # or bill of lading, origin and destination of goods, and driver’s name and signature. The operator then performs a walk around inspection of the truck and looks for possible hazardous material leaks. Trucks transporting Class 1 Explosives are prohibited and are turned around at the tunnel.

 

In retrospect, it almost seems like a security checkpoint. For a tunnel on a highway most people in the United States have never even heard of.

 

Is Cumberland Gap Tunnel Part of a Secret Underground Military Installation?

MENTION THIS TO MOST OF THE LOCALS AND THEY’LL SCOFF AT YOU.

However, a growing number of us are questioning the federal government’s official reason for building the approximately mile-long tunnel: the highway over the mountain was responsible for an average of 5 deaths a year. This will be safer, they said, and it would allow the park to restore Cumberland Gap Trail to the way it looked when Daniel Boone walked it 200 years ago, they lauded.

It appeared the federal government really cared about us. But one of the first negative impacts the tunnel had was on tourism: Cudjo’s Cave, one of the area’s largest tourist attractions, no longer had a road to bring tourists to visit. Essentially whatever economic impact the impressive cave had on the region was suddenly strangled. Fast forward to today: visits to the cave are strictly regulated and only offered a few times a year. They tell us it’s because of white nose bat syndrome.

Mammoth Cave, in south central Kentucky, illustrates how they control and prevent white nose bat syndrome from spreading while keeping their cave open to the public (taken from the National Park Service’s website about Mammoth Cave at http://www.nps.gov/maca/whitenose.htm):

Significant evidence indicates that humans can and have transmitted the fungus from one cave to another, hastening its spread. While no tours at Mammoth Cave National Park enter areas used by colonies of bats for hibernation, bats do occasionally fly through toured sections of the cave year-round.

On the remote chance that you might come into contact with Geomyces destructans spores during your tour of Mammoth Cave, all participants in Mammoth Cave National Park cave tours will be required to walk the length of an artificial turf mat to remove spores and dirt after exiting the Cave. We also ask for your cooperation by washing your hands and changing clothes and footwear before visiting any other caves or mines.

If Mammoth Cave can take precautions to prevent the spread of this disease without turning the public away then Cumberland Gap National Park has a moral and ethical duty to our community to do the same. Thanks to the federal government the future of coal is looking bleak. To counter that, tourism tops the list of  Southeast Kentucky’s possible revenue generators…but not if the Feds don’t give us our cave back.

DOES THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAVE AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE FOR MAKING CUDJO’S CAVE DIFFICULT TO ACCESS?

Did the federal government remove the road and then begin to use the excuse of white nose bat syndrome to keep the public out of Cudjo’s Cave?

A woman who has spent her life in the surrounding community tells an interesting story about exploring the cave as a child. As a small girl, approximately 50 years ago or so, she and a friend would sneak into the cave to go swimming in the pools of water, which was quite a treat back then. To do this, they would squeeze back behind the stalactites and stalagmites which their small size afforded them. She tells of finding obvious military storage in one of the cavernous rooms: boxes, crates and equipment in a part of the cave that was off limits to the public.

Aside from the cave’s use by troops during the Civil War, this woman’s story is the first indication the U.S. military has had a recent interest in Cudjo’s Cave and Cumberland Mountain. Oak Ridge lies approximately 50 miles southwest in the same mountain chain. This area is littered with hundreds of miles of deep underground coal mines and natural caves. Is it too far a stretch to consider the possibility that Cudjo’s Cave, Cumberland Gap Tunnel and Oak Ridge could be connected?

Parsons Brinckerhoff: a worldwide leader in deep underground military base design…and the contractor behind Cumberland Gap Tunnel.

PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF IS A RENOWNED DESIGNER OF UNDERGROUND MILITARY BUNKERS LIKE RAVEN ROCK AND NORAD. WAS THIS EXPERTISE PUT TO USE DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF CUMBERLAND GAP TUNNEL?

In the 2010 Parsons Brinckerhoff publication “Tunneling to the Future” the company states (page 15):

During the Cold War, PB pioneered methods for the creation of large underground spaces for military fortresses. The firm’s work in this area began in the late 1940s with the design of a hardened underground defense facility at Fort Ritchie, in the Catoctin Mountains near Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and culminated in the early 1960s with NORAD (North American Air Defense Command Center), an underground cavern deep within Cheyenne Mountain outside Colorado Springs, Colorado, comprising six huge chambers and several tunnels designed to sustain nuclear attack. Recently, mined caverns have been designed by PB for construction of transit stations or underground storage.

The history of Parsons Brinckerhoff shows they can and will operate in utmost secrecy and will even employ deception to hide the installations they are constructing. In their publication “Parsons Brinckerhoff Through the Years: 1885 to 2012” the company writes about their leading role in the construction of Raven Rock Mountain Complex, a military nuclear bunker near Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania, known as the “underground Pentagon”:

https://www.pbworld.com/book_pub_history/files/assets/basic-html/page84.html

We started design in 1948, under which time the project was under very tight security clearance…we did not even tell our families what we were doing. Once construction started and tunnel muck had to be deposited outside, it was obvious that something very important was under way [sic]. And the fiction that it was a mining operation could not be very long maintained.

That was 1948. It’s logical to assume this billion dollar company’s adeptness at concealing their activities grew with time (and technological advances).

But Parsons Brinckerhoff is not only a deep underground military base contractor- they also design subway tunnels, bridges and other public transportation systems like high speed rail projects.

the lead engineer at NORAD, Thomas R. Kuesel, was also the lead engineer at Cumberland Gap Tunnel

Kuesel’s most important job at NORAD was to design a way to reinforce rock to withstand nuclear attack. It is quite noteworthy that the same engineer responsible for the integrity of one of the United States’ most strategic underground command centers was later sent to work on a simple twin tunnel bore through a mountain for a highway that runs through small towns and villages. A highway that sees significantly less traffic than I-75, which is 45 miles away. Why was it so important that Kuesel be in charge of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel project?

S.A. Healy Inc: The subcontractor at Raven Rock Mountain Complex was also the subcontractor at Cumberland Gap Tunnel

A 1951 newspaper article from Gettysburg TImes indicates S.A. Healy is continuing work on the underground installation known as the “Little Pentagon” despite recently announced cutbacks in defense appropriations.  See “Work Goes On at Little Pentagon ,  Gettysburg Times. November 8, 1951

We already know of Parsons Brinckerhoff’s role in the development of Raven Rock, and the Gettysburg newspaper article proves PB has worked with S.A. Healy before on underground military installations.

Parsons Brinckerhoff’s, S. A. Healy’s, and Kuesel’s involvement in the tunnel construction is not a smoking gun that the tunnel is an underground military installation. Kuesel was involved with hundreds of other projects that had nothing to do with the military or defense, and the same goes for the tunnel subcontractor S.A. Healy. However, it is with certainty and accuracy that we can say the companies chosen for the tunnel construction certainly had the credentials, expertise, technology and prior experience to carry out construction of a deep underground military base in southern Appalachia at Cumberland Gap.