Los Angeles

Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project
Metro is making strides to improve travel between the San Fernando Valley, the Westside and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The natural barrier created by the Santa Monica Mountains means that most people traveling between these areas are funneled primarily onto the I-405 Freeway, already ranked as one of the most traveled urban highways in the nation. More than 400,000 people travel through this area every day to commute to work, school, and other destinations along the freeway and beyond.

In Fall 2019, Metro completed a two-year Feasibility Study (Study) evaluating a number of alignments and station locations for a range of high-capacity rail transit alternatives between the San Fernando Valley and LAX with connections to existing and planned Metro bus and rail lines, including the East San Fernando Valley, Orange, Purple, and Expo Lines. The study findings will be the basis for future environmental analysis and project refinement, which was expected to begin in mid-2020. Given the mountainous terrain, tunneling is being considered for part of the alignment.

The Sepulveda Transit Corridor is part of the Measure M expenditure plan, with approximately $5.7 billion for new transit service to connect the San Fernando Valley and the Westside, scheduled to open by 2033-35. Approximately $3.8 billion is allocated to extend that service from the Westside to LAX with a 2057-59 opening date.

On Oct. 31, 2019, Metro issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking assistance from the private sector to jointly develop plans for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project. The deadline was Aug. 26, 2020. Metro’s RFP sought a pre-development agreement (PDA) with up to two private sector proposers to assist in the planning and design of this mega-project. In January, Metro reported that five teams successfully completed the PDA application: ACS Infrastructure Development; LA SkyRail Express; Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners (Bechtel); Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners (Fengate); and Tutor Perini, Parsons & Plenary.

Los Angeles to San Francisco

California High-Speed Rail
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is planning a rail link from Los Angeles to San Francisco that will allow passengers to complete the journey in just 2 hours and 40 minutes. Work is currently underway in the Central Valley.

Tunnels will be required in the north across the California Coast Range between Gilroy and Merced; and in the south in the Tehachapi Mountains between Bakersfield and Palmdale, and the San Gabriel Mountains between Palmdale and Burbank.

The alignments currently under consideration involve between 45 to 50 miles of tunnels that range in length from several thousand feet to over 20 miles, some of which are over 2,000 ft underground. The target revenue service date for the Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield segment is 2028-29, per the authority’s Draft 2020 Business Plan that was released Feb. 12.

The authority in July released its second project-level Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for a project section in Northern California. The document covers the 49-mile segment between San Francisco and San Jose that would provide service between the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco and the San Jose Diridon Station.

In June, the authority announced that the public review period for the Burbank to Los Angeles Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) was extended to July 31, 2020.

The authority currently has 119 miles under construction within three construction packages. Design-builder contractors Tutor-Perini/Zachry/Parsons, Dragados-Flatiron/Joint Venture, and California Rail Builders had more than 32 active construction sites as of June, totaling more than $4.8 billion in construction commitments.

WSP is serving as the Authority’s Rail Delivery Partner (RDP).


Delta Conveyance
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced on Jan. 15 that it would initiate the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project. The tunnel project through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will protect water supplies from sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion into the Delta. Additionally, the project will help to reduce the risk associated with earthquakes, improve water supply reliability, and reduce impacts on local Delta communities and fish. The project, originally envisioned to include twin tunnels, is being redesigned as a single-tunnel option under Gov. Gavin Newsom, who took office in January 2019. The department concluded a scoping period on April 17, 2020, after an extended 93-day public comment period. DWR will consider these comments when developing the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The Draft EIR is expected in early 2021.

Web: water.ca.gov/

San Jose

BART Silicon Valley Extension
The $6.5 billion, 6-mile BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension includes 5 miles tunnel constructed by a single, large-bore TBM on the order of 45-ft in diameter. The extension includes four stations (three underground). The overall project is a 16-mile extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in the San Francisco Bay area. A joint venture of HNTB and WSP agreed to a four-year, $88.3 million program management contract with the owner, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). As of June, VTA was in the process of applying for funds through the Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) Pilot Program of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Mott MacDonald/PGH Wong was awarded a general engineering consultant contract in January 2019.

In September, VTA released a Request for Industry Feedback (RFIF) for the upcoming contract for tunnel and track work. RFIFs are being issued to gauge interest in the four major project-related contracts from the transit design-build contractor community, and to obtain specific feedback on the scope of the contract.
Early construction activities are planned to begin in 2022 with substantial construction completed by 2028, followed by systems testing, integration, and safety certification.

Web: http://www.vta.org/projects/bart-sv/



Potomac River Tunnel Project
The Potomac River Tunnel is a component of DC Water’s long-term control plan (LTCP), also known as the DC Clean Rivers Project. The Consent Decree establishes schedules for construction of the Potomac River Tunnel and other CSO control facilities under the DC Clean Rivers Project, including a 2025 deadline to implement the project in its entirety. The Potomac River Tunnel, 24,000 lf and 18-ft ID, will be located approximately 100 ft below ground. CSOs captured by the Potomac River Tunnel would be conveyed to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The schedule is as follows: Design, Permitting, Third-Party Coordination: Ongoing; Request for Qualifications: Late 2021; Request for Proposal: Mid-2022; Contract Award/Start Construction: Mid-2023; Place in Operation: March 23, 2030 (Consent Decree Milestone).

Web: https://www.dcwater.com/projects/potomac-river-tunnel-project



B&P Tunnel
The B&P Tunnel is a planned replacement of the existing B&P Tunnel, which is an integral portion of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. The new tunnel would replace the low speed, two-track brick arch tunnel, built in the 1870s with four, new single bore, high speed tunnels. The estimated construction cost is $5 billion, with a construction duration of a decade. The project is on Amtrak’s priority list, along with four other mega-projects – thus awaiting funding.

Web: http://www.bptunnel.com/


Northeast Corridor Superconducting Maglev
The process for approving the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is in progress, with an estimated completion date of environmental review and permitting of Jan. 28, 2022. The plan for the first leg of the Northeast Corridor Superconducting Maglev comprises 60 km from Washington to Baltimore, approximately 75 percent of the alignment in tunnel, and two underground stations (Washington, BWI Airport) and one at-grade station (Baltimore). The total cost is over $10 billion. TBM tunneling is anticipated as a single bore with guideways (outside tunnel diameter approximately 15m). As many as eight or nine TBMs are anticipated. Owner: TNEM/BWRR; Prime Consultant: WSP (formerly Louis Berger); Tunneling subconsultant: Gall Zeidler.

Web: bwmaglev.info


Redundancy Tunnel Program
The Redundancy Tunnel Program for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) will allow reliability of vital drinking water system that was impacted by 2010 main break that resulted in an estimated impact of $310 million per day. The two main components are:

  • Northern Tunnel – 4.5 miles long, 10-ft dia., 200-500 ft deep
  • Southern Tunnel – 9.5 miles long, 10-ft dia., 200-500 ft deep

The construction duration is estimated to last between 17-23 years, with construction beginning around 2026. The cost estimate is $1.475 billion.


St. Louis

Project Clear Tunnels
Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) has begun an ambitious program called Project Clear, a multi-billion dollar investment addressing wastewater overflows. The system improvements include construction of nine tunnels to control sewer overflows.
Upcoming tunneling components of Project Clear include (Project, Construction Begin, Construction Cost Estimate, Tunnel Length, Tunnel Diameter):
Lower & Middle Des Peres Storage Tunnel, 2020, $631,000,000, 9 miles, 30 ft dia
Lower Meramec Tunnel, 2020, $170,000,000, 6.8 miles, 8 ft dia
River Des Peres Tributaries CSO Tunnel, 2024, $375,000,000, 12,144 ft, 20 ft dia
Upper River Des Peres CSO Storage Tunnel, 2028, $226,000,000, 8,976 ft, 24 ft dia

Web: https://msdprojectclear.org/


New York

Flushing Bay CSO
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has begun drafting an RFP for design of 2.5-mile long, 25 million gallon CSO tunnel in Queens as part of a Long-Term Control Plan. The tunnel is expected to be 18-20 ft in diameter an estimated cost of between $670 million $829 million for the preferred alternative. Preliminary plans envision construction occurring from 2026 to 2035.

Web: www.nyc.gov

New York

Hudson Tunnel Project/Gateway
The Hudson Tunnel Project is a new two-track heavy rail tunnel along the Northeast Corridor from the Bergen Palisades in New Jersey to Manhattan that will directly serve Penn Station New York. It consists of three major elements: the Hudson Yards right-of-way preservation project, the Hudson Tunnel, and the rehabilitation and modernization of the existing North River tunnel.

A joint venture of WSP, AECOM and STV has been awarded the design contract. The tunnel portion of the contract, estimated at $13 billion, is envisioned to be a design-build contract including the Palisades Tunnel and Hudson Tunnel. The Hudson Tunnel Project is currently in the environmental review process and is on hold pending finalizing funding sources.

The Hudson Tunnel Project is part of the Northeast Corridor Gateway Program, a series of strategic rail infrastructure investments designed to improve current service and create new capacity. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) currently serves as the project sponsor, but the project is a joint undertaking that also includes Amtrak and New Jersey Transit (NJ TRANSIT).

The existing North River Tunnel, opened in 1910, is owned by Amtrak. NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak operate approximately 450 trains each weekday through the tunnel that carry over 200,000 daily passenger trips. The North River Tunnel presents reliability challenges due to damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, as well as the overall age the tunnel and the intensity of its current use. Significant delays to a large number of trains occur when problems arise.

Web: http://www.hudsontunnelproject.com/index.html

New York

Second Avenue Subway – Phase 2
Design is underway for the Phase 2 of the second Avenue Subway. A joint venture of WSP and STV is working on the design for the project that extends the line northward from 96th Street to 125th Street – a total of 1.5 miles with three new stations. The alignment will use some existing tunnels originally built in the 1970s, in addition to new soft-ground TBM tunnels. The cost estimate for this phase of the project is $6 billion, with revenue service anticipated between 2027 and 2029. An environmental review is underway per the National Environmental Policy Act, and street-level survey work (gathering of geological samples and identification of utility locations) is ongoing, according to the MTA website.

Web: http://web.mta.info/capital/phase2_sas.html



NEORSD Project Clean Lake
Project Clean Lake for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) includes several major tunnel components to store and convey combined sewer overflows. The projects include:

  • Shoreline Storage Tunnel – 15,300 lf of 21-ft diameter soft ground CSO tunnel. It is anticipated to bid in 2021;
  • Shoreline Consolidation Sewer – 11,700 lf of 9.5-ft diameter soft ground tunnel. It is anticipated to bid in 2021;
  • Southerly Storage Tunnel – 18,340 lf of 23-ft diameter CSO tunnel. It is anticipated to bid in 2024;
  • Big Creek Storage Tunnel – 22,400 lf of 18-ft diameter CSO tunnel. It is anticipated to bid in 2029.



The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) is designing a tunnel program to control combined sewer overflows (CSOs) as part of a consent decree with EPA. The $2.8 billion system improvement program is expected to include tunnel segments to store and treat overflows. The improvements are slated to be complete by 2026. The tunnels include: Ohio River Segment (1.9 miles, 12-14 ft in diameter, $84 million); Allegheny River Segment (3.6 miles, 12-14 ft in diameter, $136 million); and Monongahela River Segment (4.5 miles, 12-14 ft in diameter, $152 million). Additionally, the program will include interceptor and consolidation sewers, dewatering pump station and treatment plant improvements. Plans unveiled in September call for tunneling to begin on the Ohio River in 2023, with the others to follow. On May 15, ALCOSAN announced that its Modified Consent Decree with the United States Department of Justice, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the Allegheny County Health Department has been approved by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Geotechnical data collection was underway, according to the ALCOSAN website.

Web: https://www.alcosan.org/


Pawtucket/East Providence

Pawtucket Tunnel
The Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) has begun conceptual design of the third and final phase of its Combined Sewer Overflow Program. Phase III includes the Pawtucket Tunnel, NBC’s second CSO storage tunnel. NBC completed the Providence Tunnel, a 16,500-ft long, 26-ft diameter CSO storage tunnel, in 2008 during Phase I of its CSO program.

The Pawtucket Tunnel will be approximately 11,600 ft long, 30 ft in diameter and located in bedrock about 200 ft below the ground surface. The contract to construct the Pawtucket Tunnel will include the launch and recovery shafts (which will become permanent access shafts),four drop shafts with connecting adits at existing outfall locations, and an underground shaft- or cavern-style tunnel pump station.

Mechanical fit out of the tunnel pump station will be performed under a separate contract. Construction of diversion structures, gate and screening structures and consolidation conduits at existing outfall locations will be performed under separate contracts as well.

The launch shaft and tunnel pump station will be located at NBC’s Bucklin Point Wastewater Treatment Facility in East Providence, Rhode Island. The alignment will be parallel to the Seekonk River and Blackstone River, and end near the border of Pawtucket and Central Falls, Rhode Island. An 8,800-ft long, 10-ft diameter conveyance tunnel, which will connect to the Pawtucket Tunnel, is planned to begin after the Pawtucket Tunnel is completed. The program/construction manager for Phase III is Stantec and its teaming partner Pare Corporation. Construction of the Pawtucket Tunnel is anticipated to begin in 2021.



Phase 2 Lake Travis Deep Water Intake
The Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority (BCRUA) has embarked on a multiple year program to increase capacity and manage concerns associated with recent historic low water levels of Lake Travis. The program includes: a multiple level-screen deep water intake assembly and shaft extending about 70-ft below lake bottom; approximately 10,000-ft of 96-in. diameter tunnel to convey water by gravity from the intake to a new on-shore pump station (with a subterranean forebay, multiple individual pump wells and a 30 ft diameter wetwell extending about 300 ft below grade); and 3,000-ft of 84-in. diameter pressurized transmission tunnel. Final design is expected to be completed in mid-2021. Construction is estimated to begin in 2021 with completion in 2026. Total project cost is estimated at approximately $180 million (subject to change).

Web: https://www.bcrua.org/


D2 Subway
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is well underway with planning and preliminary design of the D2 Subway, which will provide a second light rail alignment through downtown Dallas. The targeted opening date for the design-build project is 2024.

Thirty-four borings have been completed since 2016, providing data on conditions up to 120 ft below grade. These borings have revealed the rock types of Austin Chalk (limestone) and Barnett Shale (shale). Upon completion of soil and rock testing, additional evaluations will be performed to help DART determine the most appropriate method(s) to construct the tunnel, stations, and station access portals.

The project budget was $1.3 billion as of October 2016. The project includes 1.3 miles of alignment below grade (2 miles total) and three underground stations (four total).

The 45-day public comment period for the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) was from May 15, 2020, through June 29, 2020.


Flood Control Tunnels
The Harris County Flood Control District is entering the second phase of a study to explore the feasibility of building deep tunnels to divert storm water to prevent flooding. The district signed a $2.5 million contract with Black & Veatch to study the size and effectiveness of tunnels at various locations in the county, as well as funding sources. The district got a $2.5 billion flood bond approved last summer.
According to the communityimpact.com, early estimates indicate that it would cost about $1.5 billion to build 10 miles of 40- to 50-ft tunnel. Phase 2 was expected to begin in mid-May and last about one year. The next phase would include preliminary engineering, which would take approximately 12-18 months.
Web: https://www.hcfcd.org/

San Antonio

SAWS Tunnel
The San Antonio Water System (SAWS), a public utility owned by the City of San Antonio, Texas, has selected SAK Construction as the contractor for its W-6 Upper Segment: Hwy 90 to SW Military Drive Sewer Main Project. The project involves construction of approximately 29,000 LF of 60-inch, 78-inch, and 104-inch gravity sewer main via tunneling and short segments of open cut, as well as, the construction of 16-foot diameter access shafts with depths ranging from 40 to 140-feet deep, and including the abandonment of existing 48 and 54-inch gravity sewer mains.
This project is part of SAWS’ compliance with the EPA Consent Decree. Estimated construction duration is a maximum of 36 months.



AlexRenew Tunnel
Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) has put forth a plan to address the discharge of combined sewage to Alexandria, Virginia’s waterways that includes a storage and conveyance tunnel system. The Tunnel System is the largest component of the program. The tunnel is envisioned to be a 12-ft diameter, 11,500-ft long and 120-ft deep soft ground tunnel, with three shafts ranging from 35 to 50-ft in diameter. The Tunnel System and other controls need to be in place by July 1, 2025, per state law.

The Tunnel System Project was procured through a two-step Fixed-Price, Design-Build process. 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.

Notice to Proceed for the selected team is expected in December 2020. In April, AlexRenew awarded a $1.99 million Tunnel System Resident Engineering and Inspection (RE&I) Services contract to EPC Consultants Inc.

Web: www.riverrenew.com



West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions
Sound Transit is planning for new extensions to its Link Light Rail system including:

  • West Seattle to Downtown: which includes a potential 0.5 to 1-mile tunnel under West Seattle neighborhood with 1 new potential underground station, and
  • Ballard to Downtown: which includes 7.1 miles of new LRT service, and nine stations. Plans call for a 3.3-mile tunnel alignment, and six underground stations with two mined pedestrian connections to existing stations. Additionally, a potential 1-mile tunnel under Lake Washington Ship Canal and one new potential underground station could be included.

RELATED: Tunnel Updates – October 2020

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