University of Michigan
University of Michigan (U of M) needed to reinforce and upgrade sections of their utility tunnel structure adjacent to the new Biological Sciences Building on U of M’s central campus as well as update the mechanical system in the tunnel to improve ventilation. Commonwealth designed the tunnel reinforcing and new vaults to integrate mechanical ventilation systems within the utility tunnel system. The reinforcement is necessary for heavy vehicle loading including firetruck access and other construction vehicles. The mechanical system upgrades involved creating new sub grade vaults to accommodate ventilation fans and areaways to supply and exhaust air in the tunnel system. The project also involved a structural condition assessment, localized repairs and waterproofing measures, all to improve the condition of the tunnel system and extend the life of U of M’s critical infrastructure.
Commonwealth has developed cost effective techniques with U of M to reinforce the utility tunnels with limited excavation. There were various critical underground utilities maintained in operation while the construction was performed, and Commonwealth’s team approach with the Owner and contractors result in new and innovative ways to accomplish construction in congested sites and minimize interruptions and unforeseen problems. Commonwealth coordinated and managed the tunnel improvement project work in conjunction with the Biological Sciences Building project, including a phased approach to the work, all toward the goal of a successful project for University of Michigan.