Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tunneling Begins

On Friday, March 11, the AQM 150-HR Roadheader began grinding its way west and has reached a distance of 25 feet. Tunneling will pause for approximately a week to complete the installation of the portal yard, ventilation and permanent power. Railroad tracks will also be installed behind the road header. The tracks are needed because as spoils generated they are collected on a conveyor belt and loaded onto rail cars for transport outside of the tunnel.

When tunneling resumes the roadheader will travel an average of 22 feet per day until it reaches the Vargas Shaft (14,300 feet away). A sister roadheader headed in the opposite direction will rendezvous with the machine sometime in 2013.

The roadheader’s boom-mounted cutting head that hacks away at rock face.

The boom-mounted cutting head is capable of excavating the 13-foot horseshoe shaped dimensions of the tunnel.

The Roadheader starts its journey from the Alameda West Portal

Spoils generated are collected on a conveyor belt attached to the roadheader and loaded onto rail cars for transport outside of the tunnel.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

@ Work: Deeper at Vargas

The Vargas Shaft gets deeper everyday and will soon reach its final depth of 120 feet. Here are some photos of the shaft at various stages. Feel free to guess the depth of the shaft and post your answers in the comment section. Sign up for the blog and we will send you the answers.

February 22, 2011: __ feet


Both photos on March 4, 2011: ___ feet

March 10, 2011: __ feet

@ Work: Alameda West Portal

After months of working primarily above ground, construction workers are set to grind into the first inches of rock that make up the 3.5 mile New Irvington Tunnel. Here are some photos of crews @ Work on the eve of the first day of tunneling:


The AQM 150-HR Roadheader moves into position at the Alameda West Portal


Portal spiles are drilled to provide support for tunnel excavation.

Getting ready to knock on the door of the New Irvington Tunnel.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Video: What's Up with WSIP?

Watch this short video and learn the latest about the SFPUC’s Water System Improvement Program (WSIP) to rebuild and seismically upgrade the Hetch Hetchy Water System.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

AS4 Project Wins Prestigious Award

Recently, one of the most critical projects in the SFPUC’s Water System Improvement Program (WSIP) received a special honor. The Alameda Siphon No. 4 (AS4) project, which includes the construction of a new siphon to help ensure water delivery to customers after a major earthquake, won the “2010 Pipeline of the Year” award from the Steel Plate Fabricators Association. The Steel Plate Fabricators Association is a major trade association of manufacturers that fabricates steel construction products. Ameron International was the pipe fabricator on the contractor’s team led by Steve P. Rados, Inc.

“With this award, the entire AS4 team is being recognized nationally for this project, which has included overcoming challenges to ensure its success. This award is appropriate as the work on this project has explored the limits of complicated pipeline construction”, explained Harvey Elwin, the SFPUC Deputy Director for Construction for the WSIP.

The Alameda Siphon No. 4 project was also one of the regional WSIP projects recognized in November 2010 for achieving over 1 million safe working hours without major injuries since April 2009. All construction work for the Alameda Siphon No. 4 project is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

The project included a pipe manifold which involved a series of compound angles and complex field welding.