Cranes, trains, and water ordeals

How through the dust and muck of miles of underground construction, a cleaner Lake Erie is emerging.

A question I am often asked is whether it is possible to go down into the tunnels. People are curious about these massive structures, and want to experience what it’s like to be inside of one.

Senior Engineer Martino Scialpi, engineering intern Michael Wenning, laborer Nick Morganti, and Construction Supervisor Karrie Buxton.
Statue of Saint Barbara mounted inside the access shaft of the Doan Valley Tunnel.
A locomotive on rails runs from the access shaft to the back of the tunnel boring machine.
Pieces of tunnel lining are placed on the segment car.
The tunnel’s finished concrete lining as seen from above the massive tunnel boring machine.

“Designers can make anything work on paper, but we never have that perfect blank sheet out in the field.”

Traveling by train car from the access shaft to the tunnel boring machine.
Westerly Storage Tunnel TBM cutter head preparing for descent, September 2019.

“I’ve always had an interest in construction. My dad was a contractor. In college, I worked for a mechanical contractor, doing piping and HVAC, working in a fabrication shop.”

“No matter what you did during design, things can change quickly, and when those changes happen, you have to be able to jump on them. Geotechnical risk in these jobs is huge. We do a pretty good job of figuring it out, but when you open up the ground, it can be different. It can cost you millions.”

“Our capital program has drastically increased with Project Clean Lake, both in the number of projects we have to deliver and the money that we have to spent. We’ve made everything more efficient.”

Official Medium channel of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland, OH