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  • Ashlyn Halstead

Build Long-Term Relationships and Mutual Trust: Hidden River Tunnel

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Project by the Numbers:

4,000 YDS of Concrete

30,000 tons of Aggregate

754,000 lbs of Reinforcing Steel

1,875 LF of Box Culverts

In February of 2021, the City of Bloomington launched a two-year reconstruction project of the downtown storm water infrastructure that prevents flooding during rain events. The Hidden River Project consist of reconstructing over 1,829 feet of culverts, along with sanitary sewers and waters to support Bloomington’s vibrant downtown.

Before replacement, the culverts that carried the storm water beneath Bloomington’s downtown were some of the oldest sewers in the city dating back to 1900. Although the city has already repaired much storm water infrastructure under downtown Bloomington in the past 20 years, this phase of reconstruction was essential to prevent flooding and potential structure failures. The previous infrastructure was inadequate for the volume of storm water downtown Bloomington was experiencing-a result of increased imperious surface area and intensified rain events associated with climate change. The new culverts placed have twice the capacity of those previous.

This job was a unique project for Superintendent, Tommy Gott, and team. Instead of the typical concrete pour or asphalt work, crew members worked underground. Safety is always crucial, but at the Hidden River Tunnel project our team had to work through unique challenges to keep safe. Through many of the summer months, temperatures soared and there was little airflow while working underground. Our safety team helped ensure the proper measures were taken by providing industrial fans to keep the airflow that our crew members would receive above ground. They also provided crew members with Liquid IV and knowledge to know the signs of heat exhaustion. Through all the moving parts of the project, we are proud to say that we had no recordables. This is a true testament to the communication and teamwork and leadership involved in this project.

“What made this project one of the most unique I’ve worked on is the fact that this tunnel went through homeowners back yards, business park lots, through a park and around four different buildings. Because of this we were able to develop many close relationships with the community members of Bloomington.”-Tommy Gott

The coordination it took for the community members and City of Bloomington to make this job come to fruition was critical. With the corporation or understanding, we couldn’t have gotten the job done. Thank you to homeowners and business owners for your patience while we were working to improve your city. A special thank you to one business in particular, Two Sticks Bakery, who were always quick to greet our crew with a smile even when we had to block access for a day. Not to mention their delicious baked treats! It is partnerships like these that make our jobs to improve the city easier.

Thank you to Thomas Gott and his crew for their dedication to building this job the Milestone Way. Because you effectively worked as a team, we built a quality tunnel for the City of Bloomington that will last them decades to come. The second part of our project is scheduled to start in the early months of 2024. Stay tuned for updates!

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