Kelly Drive construction continues

August 10, 2009 4:04:22 PM PDT
For almost two years, workers have been installing a sewer tunnel. Its purpose: to drain waste water from East Falls to the Schuylkill River.You can't see the work from the road but drivers are pretty familiar with the traffic tie-ups it causes.

The water department is boring out a three-quarter mile long tunnel for storm water, its 95 feet underground, the equivalent of a ten story building.

What you see from the bottom is an 800 foot stretch of completed tunnel.

It's a place where very few people will ever walk again. Especially when the 12 and a half foot tunnel is full of gushing storm water. It is needed to alleviate flooding in East Falls.

The new $32-million drain will supplement an existing 8 foot drain that's overwhelmed by heavy rainfall.

The tunnel runs under 32nd street, makes a right hand turn and travels a half mile under Allegheny Avenue and out into the Schuylkill River.

On the other end by Kelly Drive a giant boring machine is working its way up to 32nd Street. The machine grinds up the rock and it's carried out on carts, eventually hauled away by trucks.

It is a complex and time consuming operation, an invisible behind the scenes production.

The residents and businesses of East Falls will have less to worry about when it's done, thousands and thousands of gallons of storm water flowing safely out into the river. If all goes well, the project will be wrapped up sometime next spring.