Silicon Valley Clean Water Tunnel Marks Milestone

Local officials celebrated a major project milestone of the Silicon Valley Clean Water (SVCW) $495 million Regional Environmental Sewer Conveyance Upgrade (RESCU) Program by gaining a firsthand look at the 16-ft diameter tunnel boring machine before it begins two years of work underground.

In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the closing of a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan that will help finance this project to protect public health and the San Francisco Bay while creating local jobs and reducing project costs. Local officials placed the name of the machine on the TBM exterior before it is fully assembled underground to begin boring 2.4 miles under the Redwood Shores Parkway right-of-way in Redwood City to further the infrastructure program.

“Replacing our infrastructure is a critical need and Silicon Valley Clean Water is thrilled to be able to accomplish this amazing project in a relatively short timeframe and with little impact to the local community,” said Teresa Herrera, manager of Silicon Valley Clean Water. “Today’s project milestone is a major step forward and we couldn’t have gotten here without the innovative design-build team of Barnard/Bessac Joint Venture to keep this project on time and on budget. We thank the United States Environmental Protection Agency for their support of a WIFIA loan, which will save ratepayers significant cost; this investment will keep the project moving forward.”

Built by Herrenknecht Tunneling Systems, with over 1,300 similar machines built, the $18.2 million TBM recently arrived from Germany and is nearly assembled. The machine was selected as an alternative to more disruptive construction options. The gravity pipeline project is managed using progressive design-build (PDB) to control costs and replace the aging existing pipeline sooner. Project delivery using PDB is very new for tunneling projects in the United States. The design-build team for SVCW’s project includes Barnard Construction and Bessac Construction, two leading international companies, and ARUP as the designer, coming together in a joint venture called Barnard/Bessac Joint Venture (BBJV). SVCW’s owners advisors and quality assurance consultants include Tanner Pacific, JCK, MPF Consulting Inc., Kennedy Jenks, and Mott McDonald. Barnard Construction recently completed the San Francisco Central Subway tunnels under BART and high-rise buildings.

“Today is a great milestone for this significant project, which includes innovative thinking, cost savings, shrinking of the project schedule, and ensuring a high level of safety to make sure the Gravity Pipeline project is a success,” said Jack Sucilsky, project manager of Barnard Bessac Joint Venture. “Barnard Construction provides local underground expertise in the Bay Area while our JV partner, Bessac, comes to the table with four decades of tunneling expertise, and we are ready to deliver a successful project for Silicon Valley Clean Water.”

The Regional Environmental Sewer Conveyance Upgrade (RESCU) Program will cost $495 million in capital dollars. The EPA’s WIFIA loan is funding eligible project costs, and capitalized interest, which combined is valued at $517 million.

Sixteen ft in diameter, 650 ft long with all the support elements, and with a weight of 900 tons, TBM technology has been used all over the world for mountain and underwater tunnels, pipelines and transit lines, and has been used to build San Francisco’s Central subway. The TBM is one element of the RESCU Program to support the safety and reliability of the community’s wastewater system. One of the goals of SVCW’s RESCU Program is to protect the San Francisco Bay through rehabilitating and constructing new facilities that enhance the future of the Peninsula’s wastewater system, while managing increasing wastewater flows of up to 108 million gallons per day (MGD) during wet weather.

SVCW serves more than 220,000 people and businesses in our service area supporting the cities of Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City and the West Bay Sanitary District.


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