The Ross Shaft project reaches new low

The Ross Shaft was named for Homestake Superintendent Alec J. M. Ross. Construction began in 1932, with the first ore hoisted in 1934. The shaft used conventional sinking methods from 137 feet down to the tramway level. Below the tramway, pilot raises were driven at various depths to complete the shaft down to the 3050 Level. The Ross was deepened to nearly 3,800 feet in 1935 but wouldn’t reach the 5000 Level until the end of 1956. Credit: Sanford Lab

Excerpted from Sanford Lab’s Deep Thoughts article of the same title, 28 November 2017. See full feature story on the Sanford Lab website.

For more than five years, Ross Shaft crews have been stripping out old steel and lacing, cleaning out decades of debris, adding new ground support and installing new steel to prepare the shaft for its future role in world-leading science. On Oct. 12, all that hard work paid off when the team, which worked its way down from the surface, reached a major milestone: the 4850 Level…

Refurbishing the shaft is just one step toward a much larger goal, said Chris Mossey, Fermilab’s deputy director for LBNF. “Completion of the Ross Shaft renovation to the 4850 Level is critical to support construction of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility. Thanks to the Sanford Lab crews, who have worked since August 2012, to reach this significant milestone…”

The refurbishment team. Pictured from left: Ross foreman Mike L. Johnson, infrastructure technicians Rodney Hanson, Dan James, Jerry Hinker, Dave Leatherman, Derek Lucero, Frank Gabel, Mike Mergen, Eli Atkinson, Clint Morrison, James Gregory, Will Roberts, Curtis Jones, engineering technician Kip Johnson, and infrastructure technician Kyle Ennis. Credit: Sanford Lab

Before scientists begin installing the DUNE detectors, the shaft needs to be completed to the 5000-foot level and a rock conveyor system installed to excavate the caverns that will house DUNE. Still, there’s much to celebrate…

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