Microtunnel for City of Tampa Force Main Makes Successful Breakthrough to Tunnel Shaft

TAMPA, Fla. – A large-diameter microtunnel machine, which installed a 72-inch-diameter steel casing pipe a total distance of 3,156 linear feet, completed its final penetration into the receiving pit at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, beside Amalie Arena, on April 21. The microtunnel was installed 65-feet deep under the Ybor Turning Basin, Beneficial Drive Bridge, and Garrison Channel, a Tampa Bay channel located between Harbour Island and the Channelside District. The microtunnel is part of a four-year design-build project that is replacing a 72-year-old pipeline system with a new 54-inch and 48-inch force main.

The project is being led by Kimmins Contracting Corp. The tunneling machine used to carve out the new tunnel is a major part of the massive construction project that required seven months of exacting operation to complete. One end of the tunnel connects to a 25-foot-diameter receiving vertical shaft at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, and the other connects to a 40-foot-diameter vertical shaft on King Road. This microtunnel was completed by Vadnais Trenchless Services Inc.

Kimmins began the design phase of the project in July 2019 and started construction in September 2022 with a team that has included up to 50 workers. The final phase of the project will include a transition to the main pipeline system that ties in the just-completed tunnel at the park to part of the old pipeline system located below Franklin Street and Water Street. This phase is scheduled to be completed by fall 2023.

The completion will mark a major replacement of the 1950s-era force main sewer system between the Krause Pump Station, by the Tampa Convention Center, and the Howard F. Curren Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, at Port Tampa Bay. The new pipelines will provide a more modern, cost-effective, and reliable wastewater system projected to serve the city of Tampa’s wastewater needs for decades to come.

About Kimmins Contracting Corp.
Kimmins Contracting Corp. is one of Tampa’s most experienced civil engineering and construction firms, and specializes in design-build, utility contracting, and demolition services. Founded in 1923, the company is marking its 100th anniversary this year. As Kimmins embarks on its next 100 years, it stands poised to continue to be a vital partner of Tampa Bay as the community’s most experienced and trusted contractor for design-build, civil construction, and demolition services. For more information, visit www.kimmins.com.

What is the City of Tampa Force Main Microtunnel project?

The City of Tampa Force Main Microtunnel project is a significant infrastructure development that involves the construction of a new wastewater force main using microtunneling technology. The project was designed to improve the city's wastewater management capacity and enhance environmental protection. The microtunnel successfully broke through to the tunnel shaft, marking a significant milestone in the project.

What are the benefits of using microtunneling technology?

Microtunneling technology offers several advantages, including minimal surface disruption, precise control over alignment and depth, the ability to navigate around existing utilities, and reduced environmental impact. It's a trenchless method that enables the installation of pipelines beneath the surface without the need for open-cut trenches, making it ideal for urban areas with heavy traffic or sensitive environments. This technology is also known for its safety and efficiency.