Published On: Wed, Aug 29th, 2018

Rosie, the Monstrous Excavating Machine, is Finishing Her Tunnel in Akron

The massive tunnel boring machine digging an enormous tunnel deep beneath the streets of Akron, Ohio is expected to emerge soon after completing its lengthy 6,240-foot journey excavating the city’s sewer system. Nicknamed, Rosie, the monstrous machine will exit from the underbelly of downtown Akron in a blocked off construction zone near South Main Street and West Exchange Street.

photo/ Skeeze via pixabay

Rosie’s work on the tunnel began a year ago in August 2017. Once complete, the underground tunnel will stretch from the Mustill Store Museum off West North Street to West Exchange Street. The Akron Waterways Renewed! program was launched by the city in an effort to control the Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) and update the aging and decrepit sewer infrastructure. The project will help Akron to comply with existing EPA mandates, as dictated by the Federal Consent Decree which was issued to the city in 2009.

At a cost exceeding 1.4 billion dollars, the venture – a joint project of the Illinois-based Kenny Construction Co. and the Tokyo-based Obayashi Corporation – will prevent sewage from reaching and polluting local waterways including the Ohio & Erie Canal and the Little Cuyahoga River. Once completed, the tunnel will be 27 feet wide, 6,240 feet long, and will hold 25.6 million gallons of stormwater and sewage. This complex and lengthy project comes on the heels of more than 450 millions dollars already invested since 1987 in Akron’s sewer infrastructure and wastewater treatment plants.

City officials, Akron residents and Akron based plumbers like C. Lee Services which has been offering sewer system services in the city for over 30 years, are expected to celebrate Rosie’s work and kick off the next stage in the project with a free party for the public. The party, held at Lock 3, will feature a specially brewed Rosie beer, a livestream of Rosie emerging from the ground, special giveaways and merchandise for sale, a sample of concrete taken from the tunnel, and even a selfie booth where people can get a snapshot of themselves standing inside Rosie’s tunnel.

With Rosie’s work complete, the huge 30 feet wide and 300 feet long machine will be taken apart and then sold. Engineers estimate that workers will need an additional year to put the finishing touches on the tunnel and to connect it to other new and updated sewer systems in downtown.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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