There is a woman building a literal tunnel under her house and we need to talk about it.

It’s the start of a new year which means it’s officially the season for starting new hobbies. Most people choose things like running, drawing, reading more books, and of course the most reasonable and achievable choice of all… building a tunnel under your house. 

US-based woman Kala started her “hobby” in 2022 when she posted a TikTok explaining how she was “about to embark on a new and complex project” by building a storm shelter underneath the existing basement in her suburban home. 

You know, just a simple little home renovation.

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Video via Mamamia

But two years later - after 74 detailed TikToks where Kala filmed herself drilling into underground rock with perfectly manicured nails, full makeup and hardhat to achieve what she started calling an "underground tunnel system"  - the project has taken a dramatic turn. 

Because of the absolute rogue nature of this endeavour, Kala's account quickly grew to over 500,000 follows, amassing five million likes as she was coined 'Tunnel Girl'.

@engineer.everything #engineering #construction #stupidprizes ♬ original sound - Kala

She kept followers updated as she ran into problems like water damage, mine cart accidents, broken plumbing piping and electrical extension cord hazards (yes, these have all happened to her multiple times, and yes, they are all as bad as they sound). 


While many people were initially supportive of Kala's...passion project...people finally started asking the obvious questions. Like: Why? Do you have permission to do this? Do you even know how to do this? And again...why? 

Kala confirmed in a comment that she is a computer engineer, but only has "little training" in "many types of engineering". Whatever that means. 

In an NBC news interview, Kala declined to get into specific detail about any permits she may have obtained, but said she was following the rules of building emergency shelters within her local jurisdiction. 

"I just thought it would be neat to have like a little protective shelter area," Kala told NBC News

"And so I started working on that. And also it’s a challenge and I live for challenges. It keeps me preoccupied and keeps me entertained."

I personally prefer reading, but that's just me.

However, in a very dramatic and cinematic video posted in December, Kala announced that her project had been put on hold because she'd received a stop-work order saying that an immediate evaluation by a professional engineer needed to be done. 

Was it due to a tip-off to authorities from one of her neighbours? Or a concerned TikTok follower? Who knows. 

But if you thought the drama ended there, hold on to your handmade sump basin (yep I'm basically a professional now, too) because we’re about to get deep and dirty.


There has been radio silence from Tunnel Girl since she was ordered to stop work, but her following continues to grow, as do concerns about the project. 

The shock of people finding out that local authorities didn't know about the tunnel made them question the safety of Kala’s neighbours.

Investigative reporter Aura Bogado has now been looking into how Kala’s hobby has impacted the wider neighbourhood. 

In her NBC News interview, Kala stated that she was not building under any of her neighbours' houses and maintained good relationships with them all. 

However, while investigating, Bogado attempted to contact some of Kala’s neighbours, some of whom were immigrants and didn’t report on the mining of the tunnel because of their fears of immigration authorities. 

@aurabogado #stitch with @derek the solarboi ⚡️ Kala’s neighbors didnt know—and she flaunted that for her audience. #Kala #TunnelGirl #migrants #equity ♬ original sound - Aura Bogado

Now, there’s a clear split between support for Kala finishing her project and those who think it should be shut down forever. 

Look, I’m not a building girl, I’m not even a hobby girl but it's obvious that an extreme amount of hard work and effort has been put into this, with Kala herself saying it is “enormously expensive and (has) a zero return on investment”. 

I think I'll just stick to reading as my hobby....

Feature image: TikTok via @engineer.everything 

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