First Street Tunnel Finished: “designed to mitigate flooding from undersized sewers in the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park”

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via DC Water

From DC Water:

“If you thought holiday traffic was bad, consider this—it took DC Water’s tunnel boring machine named Lucy five months to travel 2,700 feet. Granted, she did it about 100 feet below ground and had to cut her way through 500 million pounds of sand, silt and clay. Lucy mined under First Street, NW, from Channing Street to Rhode Island Avenue, to create the First Street Tunnel. This tunnel segment will ultimately connect to the five-mile-long Northeast Boundary Tunnel in 2022.

“We are pleased to reach this important milestone in the project and are grateful for the continued patience of the impacted community,” said DC Water CEO and General Manager George Hawkins. “We will continue to work with the neighborhood to complete this essential project as soon as possible to provide flood relief for residents.”

From 2016 to 2022 the First Street Tunnel will store and then pump combined sewage up into the existing sewer system during and after rainstorms to keep it off of streets and out of basements. The First Street Tunnel is designed to mitigate flooding from undersized sewers in the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park neighborhoods. It is part of the DC Clean Rivers Project aimed at significantly reducing combined sewer overflows to District waterways.

DC Water selected Skanska/Jay Dee Joint Venture for the project in 2013. Lucy was christened in a ceremony in April of this year and began her dig this summer. Scott Hoffman, Skanska/Jay Dee Project Manager for the First Street Tunnel said the joint venture team was committed to this project and the challenge of conducting heavy civil work in a densely populated urban area. “We’re proud of the end result, and the positive impact it will have on the community,” Hoffman said. “It’s a great accomplishment to have Lucy finish the tunneling portion of the work just in time for her to go home for the holidays.”

Lucy was named honoring Lucy Diggs Slowe (1895-1937), a District of Columbia local and the First Dean of Women at Howard University in 1922. There, she established a women’s campus and influenced the appointment of women’s deans throughout the country. Prior to that, Ms. Diggs Slowe founded – and served as principal for—Shaw Junior High School in 1919, the first junior high in the District of Columbia school system. She was a founding member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and was inducted into the 26th annual Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. In addition, she was a decorated athlete, winning the American Tennis Association’s first tournament in 1919, making her the first African-American woman to win a major sports title.

This is the second DC Water tunnel boring machine to complete her mission this year. In July, Lady Bird completed a two-year, 4.5 mile trek to dig the Blue Plains tunnel segment.

Now Lucy will be dismantled and 99 percent of her parts will be recycled, while the tunnel she dug is prepared for use. Work also continues to connect the existing sewers along First Street, NW to the new tunnel.”

5 Comment

  • Cool. I hope First Street—the road to Children’s Hospital—will reopen soon.

    • houseintherear

      I hope not. It has been wonderful not almost being run over 800 times a day by speeding Maryland commuters.

      • Good to get these Maryland commuters again off of 2nd St :-). And by the way – the rationale for this project is not Bloomingdale Flood relief but getting pipes in for the McMillan project. Lies, lies and lies.

        • As someone who was assaulted on one of the streets closed due to the construction, I hope that they do reopen soon. The lack of car and foot traffic on these roads also makes them an easy location for theft and violence.

  • Does anyone know when the project is slated to be complete and 1st and Thomas Streets will reopen?

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