TACOMA, Wash. - Crews working on Tacoma’s street car extension will drill a tunnel next week for a new water main underneath a pedestrian tunnel which itself is underneath Martin Luther King Jr. Way next to Tacoma General Hospital.
The complicated project will begin as early as March 4, Sound Transit said. It’s part of underground utility work on the 2.4-mile extension of Tacoma Link.
An underground pedestrian passage runs underneath MLK Jr. Way and between the main hospital building and other MultiCare buildings on the west side of the street. To work around the pedestrian tunnel, crews will dig a horizontal tunnel under the pedestrian tunnel for a new water line.
The work will disrupt pedestrian and vehicle traffic for about a month, Sound Transit said. The pedestrian tunnel will remain open as will two-way vehicle traffic during the project.
Passersby will see large equipment and deep pits near the hospital. Some of the construction work will be noisy, Sound Transit warned. That includes removing pavement and the pounding of shoring for construction pits.
Access to all hospital buildings will remain open during construction. Emergency access to the hospital will remain on 5th Street off MLK Jr. Way.
After the first drilling project, the contractor will bore more tunnels for sanitary and storm sewers, Sound Transit said. That tunnel will go under pedestrian tunnels to the Baker Center and Jackson Hall.
The Link extension will open in 2022 if construction proceeds on schedule, according to Sound Transit.
Eventually, a station for the street cars will be built outside Tacoma General.
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