After four years of construction, a new Central Florida wastewater pipeline will soon become the third longest of its kind in North America. The microtunnel running 60 feet below the water surface of Tampa Bay replaces an aging 54″ pipeline originally placed into service in 1951. It will carry nearly one-third of all City of Tampa wastewater.
The new microtunnel consists of 7,800 linear feet of pipeline that originates at the wastewater treatment facility, located at the Port of Tampa. Crews drilled 60 feet below the water surface of Tampa Bay and connected the newly constructed microtunnel 65 feet underground at Fort Cotanchobee Park. The pipeline transmits 30%, or 15 million gallons per day, of Tampa’s wastewater.
The contractor began Phase One of connecting the microtunnel to existing pipeline connected to the Krause Street Pumping Station on South Ashley Drive on January 30th. This required the closure of Water Street and the intersection of Franklin Street. Northbound and southbound traffic on Franklin Street and access to the Harbour Island Bridge will remain open. The work will continue through the end of February. Variable message boards will be installed in the area to alert motorists of the impending closure and detour signage and traffic control devices will also be in the area to assist with rerouting and traffic flow. “Tampa’s Wastewater Department is hitting major milestones as we work toward updating and upgrading our infrastructure,” said Eric Weiss, Director of Wastewater for the City of Tampa. “While we are usually out of sight and out of mind, it is critical to keep investing in our infrastructure to continue to provide both reliable and sustainable services now and for future generations.” Phase Two of the $83 million project is expected to begin toward the beginning of March. Additional information regarding road or lane closures will be provided once plans have been finalized.