Bloomington’s $13M Hidden River Project delayed a week by snow, but now underway

A $13-million dollar renovation of a culvert that runs under downtown Bloomington was supposed to start on Feb. 15, but it was delayed by the heavy snowfall.

Work began last week and continues this week on the underground culvert that leads the Campus River from Dunn Meadow at Indiana Avenue to 1st Street and College Avenue, where the waterway re-emerges above ground.

The work on about 1,829 feet worth of culvert by Milestone Contractors and city of Bloomington utilities will take around two years.

The funding is coming from sewer revenue bonds approved by the Bloomington city council in November 2020, financed through the 2019 stormwater fee increase for all CBU customers.

Josh Burris, project manager with Milestone Contractors, gave an update last Friday on the week’s work. It included basic prep work like installing the traffic controls for Washington Street and clearing some trees.

Also last week, the hole for the first section of culvert installation got dug on Washington Street, between Smith Avenue and 2nd Street in front of Two Sticks Bakery. A hole for the sanitary relocations on Lincoln also got dug.

This week, on Monday (March 1) a crew was down in the Washington Street hole slicing the walls of the existing box culvert with a large-diameter concrete saw. The house at 222 Smith Avenue was also demolished.

The replacement cross sections of the stormwater tunnel will measure 24 feet by 5 feet and and 20 feet by 5 feet. That’s a capacity increase for the 100-year-old stormwater tunnel. It’s described in the staff memo accompanying the city council’s bond approval as “undersized” for the amount of water that runs through it during heavy rains.

An emergency repair of the tunnel roof, under the intersection of 3rd and Lincoln streets, was done several years ago, according to the memo.

One thought on “Bloomington’s $13M Hidden River Project delayed a week by snow, but now underway

  1. I hate to always be the nitpicky nerd, but technically the stormwater rate increase only applies to residents of the City of Bloomington. There are some CBU customers who are not city residents, and instead pay the County stormwater fee, which was just increased last night.

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