Oldcastle Precast, Telford, Pa. supplied 11-foot by 11-foot precast concrete box culvert with a V-shaped channel for the $12.5 million Laurel St. CSO (Combined Sewer Outfall) improvement project that replaced the existing one hundred year-old, 16-foot diameter brick combined sewer outfall in Philadelphia. The project is part of a U.S. EPA Order to reduce the number of CSO discharges to the Delaware River. The new state-of-the-art outflow with twice the capacity will reduce the risk of chronic flooding in Fishtown and Northern Liberties. As part of its original development plan and $164 million expansion of the SugarHouse Casino2, SugarHouse agreed to upgrade the Laurel Street Combined Sewer Outfall.

Using prefabricated concrete box culvert was a first for the city of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Water Department specifiers in the past thought cast-in-place (CIP) concrete culverts provided an advantage over precast systems. Oldcastle Precast of Telford, Pa. was able to prove to the owner, the engineer, and the Philadelphia Water Department that a precast concrete box culvert would be a feasible option for performance and accelerate a very aggressive construction schedule. It was imperative to restore the operation of the Laurel Street CSO as soon as possible.

In all, Oldcastle Precast supplied 1,307-linear feet of V-shaped culvert for the project. The culvert was arranged as a triple run of 436-foot culvert each.

The special precast culvert presented many challenges to the engineering department of Oldcastle Precast’s Pa. facility. It was  essential for Oldcastle Precast to provide precast concrete boxes that met the Philadelphia Water Department’s stringent design criteria for underground structures. There were load considerations to be worked into the culvert design because the precast structure would be located beneath the main parking lot of the casino, a small building called the SugarHouse Poker Room and an access road that would connect the main parking lots to additional parking areas. The connector road would be the main access road for buses and delivery truck traffic to and from the casino.

Oldcastle Precast’s design of the precast box culvert with V-shaped channel was reviewed and approved by Urban Engineers of Philadelphia. Manufacturing of the culvert sections took approximately four months with time to spare for the project to be completed on schedule.