The tunnel has been dug, the seven-foot-in-diameter pipe has been set and the grouting has been poured to seal it all in place.
That means the massive undertaking by Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) to construct the largest-ever underground tunnel in Greenville’s history is near its conclusion.
Now comes the cleanup.
Stretching 1.3 miles, or about 6,000 feet, the $46 million sewer line tunnel known as Dig Greenville runs from Hudson Street downtown to Cleveland Park near the Greenville Zoo. In the more than two years since construction engineering company Black & Veatch and contractor Super Excavators began construction on the tunnel, park goers have no doubt noticed the commotion going on in front of the zoo.The good news is, most of the noisiest and most disruptive work is now done. So-called “higher-impact construction” — such as the sound of an excavating machine gouging its way through granite, or the clang of a massive pipe being laid, or the groan of men using firehose-like devices to pour grout to hold the pipe in place — were finished by February.
But residents will have to wait until June or July for the construction site to fully clear out.
“Once we get done, we’ll be repaving the zoo parking lot where we staged the construction down in Cleveland Park, and we’ll be doing some additional changes like landscaping and so on,” said Stephen O’Connell, construction manager with Black & Veatch.
Most of the exterior of the zoo and the park itself will look relatively unchanged, but ReWa and the city have taken advantage of the construction to implement some changes that were already planned for the park.
The intersection at the entrance to the zoo, for instance, will be a 90-degree angle now. The parking lot itself will be fully repaved. Fresh landscaping will be added to beautify the area. And a drinking fountain that is compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act will be installed, so folks in wheelchairs can have a much easier time getting access to drinking water while in the park.
The tunnel itself will remain inactive for the next couple of months, as ReWa begins putting flow through the pipe during a careful testing phase.
“Once that’s done, we should be able to put a bow on the whole project,” O’Connell said.