Motown Tunneling

by Paul Tarricone, Asst. Ed.; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 4, Pg. 60-61

Document Type: Feature article


When finished in 1993, Wayne County Michigan's $69 million wastewater treatment/sewer project will link outlying areas such as Dearborn with sewage treatment facilities in Detroit. Flowmeters will be attached to the pipes so Detroit will know how much to charge various municipalities for sewage treatment. After a rocky start, a tag team of tunnel-boring machines was able to complete the first phase of the project�a $29 million, 2 mi wastewater treatment tunnel. The contractor had significant problems during the first half of the phase 1, in part due to the changes in soil from clay to cobble, boulders gravel, sand and silt�and back again�between soil borings performed about 1,000 ft apart. But by the midway point of the project, the contractor adjusted to the complex soils, enabling an automated tunnel-boring machine and a man-operated TBM to complete hydraulic pipe-jacking through urban territory and beneath eight lanes of busy Detroit highway. Specifically, the contractor pumped bentonite throughout the tunnel to reduce friction, shortened the tunnel drives, painted the pipes to ease jacking and switched to 16-hour double-shift tunneling.

Subject Headings: Tunnels | Project management | Contracts and subcontracts | Wastewater treatment | Tunneling | Sewage | Pipes

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