The city is excited about the progress of work on Lift Station 87, but the Osprey Avenue bridge remains closed as work continues.
In late January, the engineering team overseeing Lift Station 87 reached an important milestone: It successfully microtunneled beneath the Osprey Avenue bridge and Hudson Bayou.
This step is a crucial part of the construction of a new wastewater facility at 1900 Mound St., and has been the source of great consternation. The city fired the previous engineering firm overseeing the project because it could not successfully microtunnel beneath the bayou. The new engineering firm, McKim and Creed, determined it would have to close the Osprey bridge for a year to complete the work.
The technical procedure involves boring a hole into the earth, a process used to install pipes that will reroute wastewater from the aging Lift Station 7 facility.
“This is a significant milestone,” city Utility Director Mitt Tidwell said.
Still, don’t expect to use the Osprey bridge anytime soon. At a workshop Tuesday, McKim and Creed project manager Robert Garland confirmed the bridge is still scheduled to reopen in July, if everything proceeds according to schedule.
Garland explained that, although the microtunneling has cleared the bayou, it doesn’t mean the work is done. The crews still have to complete the drilling from south of the bridge to U.S. 41 and Osprey, and then drill again from Osprey to the lift station location on Mound Street. There’s still a large pit near the bridge where workers are conducting this activity, Garland said.
“What we don’t want to do is reopen traffic, from a safety standpoint,” he said.
Garland said the street could conceivably reopen to pedestrian traffic sooner than that.
Overall, the project remains on schedule. The second phase — construction of the lift station building — is scheduled to begin in the summer after the microtunneling work is finished.
Although the completion of the project and decommissioning of Lift Station 7 is scheduled for 2020, Garland said the team is looking for opportunities to push that timeline up.
“Our intent is to compress our schedule to the best of our ability,” Garland said.