A 2.9KM TUNNEL at Pine Mountain in Kentucky, USA will kick-start a $6.8bn (£4.4bn) road scheme boring through a further five mountains.
The US Congress has asked the Appalachian Regional Commission to build roads to open up the region to economic progress. It plans to spend the money over the next 20 years, building 800km of roads in isolated areas of Appalachia. Thirteen states will contribute an total of £1.3bn.
The first £123M tunnel is needed to replace seven miles of twisting roads on the 1000m Pine Mountain in eastern Kentucky.
The roads have curves so sharp that the suggested speed limit falls to 24kph in places.
Meanwhile in Germany, the shield machine at the Herren Tunnel in Lübeck was christened last month.
The ceremony heralded the start of the tunnel driving work on one of Germany's first privatesector financed road projects. The 2,125m tunnel will run under the Trave and from 2005 put an end to road and ship traffic.
The twin tubes are 10.4m in diameter and will be installed using a TBM.
Herrentunnel Lübeck, a joint venture founded by Bilfinger Berger and Hochtief, will design, finance and install the toll section and operate it for 30 years. The investment is worth a total of euro 160M (£101M).