Albany Park project marks blasting milestone

9 August 2017

USA – Blasting operations for the intake shaft on a Chicago tunnel project are now complete, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced August 7.

Part of the Albany Park Stormwater Diversion Tunnel project, the intake shaft is one of two 150ft-(45.7m-) deep shafts connected by a 5,700ft- (1737.36m-) long, 18ft- (5.5m-) diameter tunnel. Blasting at the outflow shaft in was completed in March. The tunnel will convey excess storm water to the North Shore Channel, which has a greater capacity to hold the overflow than the North Branch of the Chicago River.

“We’re pleased that the blasting has been completed and the project is moving ahead on schedule,” said CDOT commissioner, Rebekah Scheinfeld. “The tunnel underneath Foster Avenue is more than halfway complete and we’re starting to work on the channel that will allow overflow from the North Branch to flow into the intake shaft.”

Albany Park has experienced two major floods since 2008 that have affected hundreds of homes in the northwest side community along the North Branch of the Chicago River. After the last round of flooding in April 2013, mayor Rahm Emanuel directed CDOT and the Metropolitan Water and Reclamation District (MWRD) to move forward with design and engineering of a stormwater diversion tunnel that would alleviate the threat of catastrophic flooding. The completed tunnel will have the capacity to divert 2,300 cubic feet (65 cubic meter) of water per second.

The stormwater diversion tunnel concept is developed and designed by MWH. WSP is the construction manager for the project.

CDOT awarded a USD 63M contract to Kenny Construction in 2016, which launched a contractor-owned refurbished TBM at the outflow shaft earlier this year. The TBM was rebuilt by Kenny Construction with size modifications designed by Robbins, and is expected to finish its drive through mostly limestone later this year. Project completion is on schedule for May 2018.