AlexRenew Partners with Traylor-Shea to Deliver RiverRenew Tunnel System Project

Rendering of a new promenade at the end of Pendleton Street to connect the community to the Potomac River.

At its regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 17, the Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) Board awarded a contract to TraylorShea Joint Venture to design and construct the RiverRenew Tunnel System Project. This marks a major milestone to comply with a 2017 Virginia law to deliver cleaner, healthier waterways to Alexandria by July 2025.

The RiverRenew Tunnel System Project includes a 2-mile-long, 12-ft-wide tunnel, shafts, and other sewer infrastructure that will help prevent about 130 million gallons of sewage from polluting the Potomac River, Hunting Creek, and Hooffs Run each year. The project will solve a sewer issue dating back to the mid-19th century. AlexRenew, with support from the City of Alexandria, has been working to implement the RiverRenew program since 2018.

Traylor-Shea was awarded a $454.4 million contract to complete the final design and construct the Tunnel System Project. The Traylor-Shea design-build team consists of Traylor Bros, Inc., and J.F. Shea Co., a joint venture, with support from Jacobs Engineering and Corman Kokosing Construction Co. Traylor-Shea brings an extensive background and direct, local experience to execute this unique project. Over 90 percent of the project’s work is anticipated to be conducted by firms based in Alexandria or the greater Washington metropolitan area.

The Traylor-Shea team has executed over 15 tunnel projects nationwide in the last 30 years. Traylor’s most recent project in the area was the 4.5-mile-long, 23-ft-wide Blue Plains Tunnel in the District of Columbia. This award-winning project was also designed to address sewer pollution and was completed on schedule, under budget, and safely, with zero lost-time incidents. Like the Blue Plains project, Traylor-Shea plans to use a state-of-the art tunnel boring machine to simultaneously excavate and construct the RiverRenew tunnel. These machines are used locally and worldwide to construct deep tunnels.

“AlexRenew is excited to partner with Traylor-Shea to improve the health and quality of Alexandria’s waterways on RiverRenew, the largest infrastructure project in the City of Alexandria’s history,” said Karen Pallansch, AlexRenew CEO. “In spite of a government shutdown, an ongoing pandemic, and other hurdles, RiverRenew is on track to meet its incredibly aggressive completion timetable. AlexRenew will continue to fulfill our vital mission to clean wastewater, working collaboratively with our community to solve our environmental challenges proactively and through effective local, long-term investments.”

Led by a five-member citizen board, Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) is a special purpose authority that has been serving the City of Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County for the last 60 years. AlexRenew treats an average of 35 million gallons of wastewater per day, from more than 300,000 people, at its water resource recovery facility, located in Alexandria’s southwest quadrant.

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