Akron breaks ground on OCIT project

12 November 2015

USA – The City of Akron began work on the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel (OCIT) – the largest component of the city’s court-ordered Long Term Control Plan - with a groundbreaking ceremony on 6 November on the banks of the Little Cuyahoga River.

"This is the beginning of the largest construction project in the 190 year history of the City," said Mayor Jeff Fusco. "It's appropriate that we treat the start of this project as the historic event it is, as we embark on the work that will make our waterways cleaner than they have been since Akron became an industrial powerhouse in the 19th century."

The city said, of the more than 770 cities nationwide remediating CSOs under the supervision of the U.S. EPA and federal courts, Akron's Long Term Control Plan is the most stringent in the nation. The Consent Decree was entered by the Federal Court in early 2014 at a price tag of USD 1.4bn (escalated).

The OCIT will have a 27ft (8.2m) finished inside diameter and will be 6,240ft long (1,902m). It will begin at the Little Cuyahoga River north of the Mustill Store on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath, and extend to Lock 1 of the canal at West Exchange Street in Downtown Akron. The tunnel will control combined sewer overflow at nine separate locations, and will store more than 25 million gallons of combined sewer overflow.

The City has awarded the tunnel construction contract to Kenny/Obayashi JV in august. "Their bid - well below our estimate- gives the City a formidable team to complete this intricate, yet massive, tunnel project," said Fusco. The City Engineer's estimate for the project was USD 252,212,193 and the accepted bid is USD 67M under that. The tunnel is scheduled to be in operation by 31 December 2018.

Phil Montgomery, Akron's Deputy Service Director, said Akron's machine will be named "Rosie." The nomination from Ellet resident Michael Flynn recognizes Mary Rose Jacob and the hundreds of other "Rosies" that worked at Akron's rubber factories during World War II, who turned out material and armaments for the allied effort. TBM launch is expected in 2017.