First microtunnel completed for Lift Station 87 project

City of Sarasota staff emphasizes the significance of the event as work proceeds to complete the project in 2020

The head of the boring machine emerges through the tunnel into the receiving shaft. ‘As you can see,’ City Manager Tom Barwin wrote in his March 17 newsletter, ‘the engineering plans and execution had to be precise. The margin for error was minimal.’ Photo courtesy City of Sarasota

The first Lift Station 87 microtunnel, which crossed under Hudson Bayou and Osprey Avenue in Sarasota, has been completed successfully, the City of Sarasota has announced. On the night of March 14, the microtunnel boring machine arrived at the receiving shaft on the corner of Osprey Avenue and Mound Street, a city news release says.

“Data collection, accurate engineering and a sound construction plan all contributed to the success of this microtunnel,” said Sarasota Utility Director Mitt Tidwell in the release. “With this significant hurdle passed, we will continue working to keep our aggressive schedule and retire Lift Station 7 by the end of 2020.”

“We cannot emphasize the significance of completing this key phase of the project,” City Manager Tom Barwin stressed in his March 17 newsletter. “Congratulations to engineer of record McKim & Creed, on-site microtunneling experts [with] Vadnais Trenchless, Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell, Utilities Engineer Manager Mike Crumpton and Project Manager Tony Centurione for their unwavering commitment to making this critical utility project a success,” he added in the newsletter.

Microtunneling is a specialized trenchless construction technique for installing pipelines under waterways, wetlands and roadways, the news release explains.

Image courtesy City of Sarasota

At this point of the project, crews are removing the microtunnel boring machine from the receiving shaft, the release continues. Then they will place a 36-inch wastewater main inside the steel casing installed by the machine. After that has been done, the release says, crews will pressure-test the pipe, put manholes in place and restore the area. That work should be completed this summer, and then the Osprey Avenue bridge will re-open, the release adds.

The second microtunnel segment is scheduled to begin in April, the release notes. It will start at the launching shaft at the Lift Station 87 site, with the boring machine guided west under Luke Wood Park to the receiving shaft at Osprey Avenue and Mound Street, the release says.

To meet project deadlines, the contractor will be working from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the release points out.

Construction of Lift Station 87 is scheduled to begin in July, the release adds. Lift Station 87 will replace Lift Station 7, which is located at 935 Pomelo Ave. After the entire project is complete, wastewater flow will be redirected from Lift Station 7 to Lift Station 87, the release says.

For more information about the Lift Station 87 project, visit or call the project information line at 356-8071. Interested parties also may subscribe to email updates at