Tunneling project from Carson to San Pedro gets boost with government funding

California

  • A look up from inside of the Clearwater Project, a...

    A look up from inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Some of the equipment being used in the Clearwater Project,...

    Some of the equipment being used in the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Once below ground the miners ride in these carriages through...

    Once below ground the miners ride in these carriages through the winding tunnel to their work site at the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Miners head down below the ground for their shift inside...

    Miners head down below the ground for their shift inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Miners head down below the ground for their shift inside...

    Miners head down below the ground for their shift inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Miners working the swing shift in a group photo before...

    Miners working the swing shift in a group photo before going below ground for their shift inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Joaquin Esquivel , Chair of State Water Resources Control Board...

    Joaquin Esquivel , Chair of State Water Resources Control Board speaks as senior officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts gathered for a look inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Once below ground the miners ride in these carriages through...

    Once below ground the miners ride in these carriages through the winding tunnel to their work site at the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Miners head down below the ground for their shift inside...

    Miners head down below the ground for their shift inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Cathy Warner, Chair of Los Angeles County Sanitation District No....

    Cathy Warner, Chair of Los Angeles County Sanitation District No. 2 Board of Directors speaks as senior officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts gathered for a look inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Robert Ferrante, Chief Engineer and General Manager, LA County Sanitation...

    Robert Ferrante, Chief Engineer and General Manager, LA County Sanitation Districts speaks as senior officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts gathered for a look inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Miners grab their number before heading down below the ground...

    Miners grab their number before heading down below the ground for their shift inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Radhika Fox, Assistant Administrator for Water, EPA speaks as senior...

    Radhika Fox, Assistant Administrator for Water, EPA speaks as senior officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts gathered for a look inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

  • A look at the inside of the Clearwater Project, a...

    A look at the inside of the Clearwater Project, a new tunnel being built to protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure in Wilmington on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

There are still miles to go — 4.5 to be exact — but on Tuesday, May 23, senior officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts gathered to celebrate an influx of state and federal money for the project, which will replace two underground aging wastewater pipes running from Carson to San Pedro.

So far, the Clearwater underground tunneling project, which will carry cleaned and treated wastewater, has completed 2.5 miles and is now under North Gaffey Street, near the softball diamonds just north of Home Depot.

It will make a turn on Capital Drive and end at Royal Palms Beach, anticipated to happen in 2025.

The celebration this week specifically marked the project receiving $441 million in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans and $127 million in State Revolving Fund loans.

Robert Ferrante, chief engineer and general manager of the L.A. County Sanitation Districts, said the project addresses several issues that are looming. Most basically, it will replace two existing pipelines from the 1930s and 1950s, respectively, that are operating at near capacity. The path of the pipelines also crosses two earthquake fault lines.

The system handles wastewater for more than 5 million residents and includes seven wastewater treatment plants.

In 2012, the Sanitation Districts’ Board of Directors approved the projects to build an 18-foot diameter, 7-mile tunnel with seismic upgrades throughout. At the start of work, the entire project was estimated to cost some $630 million.

The tunneling is being done by a modern tunnel boring machine at depths ranging from 30 feet to 450 feet. Overall construction began in 2019. Actual tunneling started in late 2021.

The tunneling is expected to be finished in 2025, with all construction wrapping up in 2027.

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