BY GABRIELE HOLTERMANN
The construction of a triple-tunneling project under the Clearview Expressway at 38th Avenue and 206th Street to 216th Street in northeast Queens is well underway.
The construction of a new tunnel for a new gas line, sewer and water main under the expressway is part of Project QED 991, a new trunk and distribution water main and infrastructure upgrade along 33rd Avenue and surrounding areas in Bayside and Flushing.
The brand-new water mains replace 80- to 120-year-old cast-iron conduits along 33rd Avenue from 156th Street to Francis Lewis Boulevard; 38th Avenue from 216th Street to Francis Lewis Boulevard; Utopia Parkway from 33rd Avenue to 37th Avenue; and 37th Avenue from Utopia Parkway to Francis Lewis Boulevard.
Michel Michael, with Entech Mirabal Engineers, explained that a procedure called trenchless technology is used for the installation of the gas, sewer and water pipes, which includes micro-tunneling work and doesn’t disturb highway traffic.
“We don’t have open tunnels or open trenches to install the pipes,” Michael said. “This is one of the technologies the city uses.”
First, a four-inch diameter probe creates a 250-foot-long path under the expressway at a depth of 12 feet from the jacking shaft on 38th Avenue and 206th Street to the receiving shaft on 207th Street, followed by a 30-inch probe.
For the water mains, the next step is the installation of the 60-inch steel sleeves. An auger, a precisely aligned 60-inch green drilling device attached to a horizontal boring machine, sits in the 60-inch steel sleeve. After drilling, the auger is pulled out, with the 60-inch sleeve, or casing pipe, left in place to accommodate a 48-inch trunk water main, also called a carrier pipe.
After the carrier pipes are installed, the annular, the space between the carrier pipes and the casing, is then grouted. The gas and sewer sleeves measure 30 inch in diameter to accommodate 10-inch sewer and gas mains.
“Obviously, when you have a project that is so big, you’re going to get a lot of calls and requests,” said Charlie Martinez, the engineer-in-charge at NYC Department of Design and Construction. “One thing that we find interesting is that people really want this project. Sometimes, we get requests from people that are two or three blocks away from our job site, asking if we are going to change the sewer in their streets or the catch basin.”
Should the surrounding community have any concerns about the project, Ian Michaels, the executive director of public information at the NYC Department of Design and Construction, said the the community construction liaison Latisha James is there for them.
“Her job is to communicate with the community and let them know what is going on,” Michaels said. “If somebody has a problem, a complaint, or a question about the job, there is always someone they can talk to.”
The project’s expected completion date is Aug. 29, 2022, with 71 percent of the job finished.