Editor’s Message: Celebrating Infrastucture

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Jim Rush - Editor

Jim Rush – Editor

As we are putting the finishing touches on this issue of TBM: Tunnel Business Magazine, the third annual Infrastructure Week is coming to a close.

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Infrastructure Week was initiated as an awareness campaign led by a group of more than 75 organizations – notably ASCE – who have an interest in promoting America’s infrastructure. Infrastructure Week combines a slate of activities in Washington, D.C., with local programs scattered throughout the United States.

Here in the Cleveland area, the Northeast Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) invited media representatives to tour projects that are underway to reduce combined sewer overflows and improve the water quality of Lake Erie and surrounding waterways. Our own Mike Kezdi made the short drive north from Brecksville to the east side of Cleveland for a tour of the Easterly Tunnel Dewatering Pump Station.

The pump station at the Nine Mile Site is part of Project Clean Lake, 25-year, $3 billion investment in CSO-control measures prompted by an EPA mandate. This includes the Euclid Creek Tunnel and the Dugway Storage Tunnel, which feed the pump station. In all, NEORSD is spending $1.530 million on tunnels as part of Project Clean Lake.

“As is the case in many communities across the country, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s infrastructure investments are funded completely by our ratepayers,” said Constance Haqq, Director of Administration and External Affairs, NEORSD. “We wanted to celebrate Infrastructure Week by offering media and elected officials an opportunity to participate in exclusive, behind-the-scenes tours so they can help the public truly appreciate the vast infrastructure ‘hidden’ beneath their feet.”

Coincidentally in this issue, we highlight City Tunnel No. 3, the mammoth project underway by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. City Tunnel No. 3 began in 1970 and is the largest capital construction project undertaken in the city’s history. The completed project will allow the city to meet growing demands and inspect and repair City Tunnels Nos. 1 and 2, which went into service in 1917 and 1936, respectively.

To learn about the project, I met with Burjor Kharivala, DEP’s Chief Tunnel Engineer, in the department’s offices in January. Kharivala has been involved with the project since construction began in 1970 and spent much of his professional career on designing its various components. The article begins on page 22.

Projects like the storage tunnels, water tunnels and pump stations are often overlooked by the public at large – partially because they are mainly underground, and partially because they perform so reliably that they never get noticed – but they are a huge part of our daily lives. I am happy that for a few days at least, we call attention to these assets and the men and women who design, construct and operate them.

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