Work Set to Begin on Second Phase of Crabtree Pipeline Project

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City of Raleigh

Wastewater projects don't generally get much attention from the public at large.

Attendees at last week’s Glenwood Citizens Advisory Council received firsthand updates on a project known as the Crabtree Basin Wastewater System Conveyance Improvements Phase II: Crabtree Pipeline.

“I’m very proud to say, I did not make up that name, it had that name when I inherited it,” joked Eileen Navarrete, PE, a construction projects administrator with the city of Raleigh.

Navarette went on to describe it as “one of the most important sanitary sewer projects, that’s also one of the most intrusive sanitary sewer projects.”

Crews work on sewer lines in this photo used during a city presentation about the changes.

City of Raleigh

Crews work on sewer lines in this photo used during a city presentation about the changes.

The whole of phase II will see the installation of 21,000 linear feet of 54-inch sanitary sewer piping in the area.

A significant portion of the project will involve digging tunnels under city roads, which Navarette described as “very expensive but very safe — it allows us to dig underneath roads without cutting them open.”

As there are only about a dozen contractors in the country who specialize in this kind of work, Navarette said the city made the decision to bid this $15 million portion of the contract by itself.

Travel Impact

Although the city did its best to minimize the disruption caused by the project, Navarette said there will be inevitable closures on portions of the city’s greenway system, along with key travel route Atlantic Avenue.

“We’re going to leave Atlantic Avenue open one lane in each direction during the week, with a few weekend closures,” Navarette said.

Hodges Street, which connects Capital Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue, among other roads, will also be closed for a 2-month period so that the city can tunnel underneath to add the new wastewater lines.

Impacted areas of the greenway will be closed for 3-4 months, Navarette added.

Importance of Planning Ahead

Navarette said the city had spent a significant sum of money on geotechnical engineering for the project, an investment that has already paid for itself several times over.

Originally, plans called to dig beneath a portion of the beltline, but an engineering study revealed a unique rock formation that would have left contractors stuck halfway through the project.