Construction to lay pipelines for the UAB District Steam System Project beneath University Boulevard will cause some temporary delays for drivers and pedestrians starting at 6 p.m. July 15, 2011. Crews will work around the clock to complete this this portion of the project as soon as possible, but some lanes along four blocks of the thoroughfare will be closed for as many as 10 days to accommodate the critical construction.
First, the two westbound lanes will be redirected to one lane on the south side of University between 14th and 18th streets. Sidewalk traffic will also move across the street. After construction across the westbound lanes is completed, street and sidewalk traffic flow will be switched to allow work beneath the eastbound lanes.
UAB Police Department personnel will be stationed at the project 24 hours a day for the duration of the work to aid traffic flow. The work is scheduled to be completed by Monday, July 25. Street cuts will be repaired as quickly as possible after the piping is installed, according to Jim James, assistant vice president in UAB Facilities Administration.
During this time, drivers going to Children’s Hospital are encouraged to use the entrance on Seventh Avenue.
When completed, around October 2012, the $69 million UAB District Steam System Project will include more than 20,000 linear feet — the equivalent of almost four miles — of steam supply and condensate piping beneath University Boulevard and neighboring streets. The new steam plant will be located at the corner of Sixth Avenue South and 13th Street, across from Bartow Arena and adjacent to the existing Alabama Power plant.
The pipe will connect steam vaults throughout campus, including two that are currently under construction, to supply about 30 percent of the total steam used on campus. The new condensate-return system will provide high-quality steam service to the campus and to research and medical center facilities, including the VA Hospital, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital and Southern Research Institute, when Alabama Power Company discontinues its steam operation in 2013.
The new condensate-recovery system will result in energy and water savings of approximately $2 million per year, an important part of UAB’s sustainability efforts.
The project was approved by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees in June 2010. Active construction began in early May and completion is expected in October 2012. UAB expects to issue a notice to proceed to Brice Building Co. on the project’s next construction phase by July 15. Stone Building Co. is expected to begin construction on the steam-generation plant at the end of July. Once completed, the new plant and systems will go through a period of commissioning and reliability testing and be brought completely online in February 2013.