OU Health Sciences Center Utility Tunnel

OUHSC staff ‘dig’ FSB’s solution to plant utilities dilemma.

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Central Plant sits on the north side of NE 8th Street, in Oklahoma City. However, their Master Plan included significant expansion to the south. So, when OUHSC requested proposals for a project to get large steam and chilled water pipes from the Central Plant to the new development areas south of 8th Street, FSB proposed a plan which was creative, quick, cost effective and would also allow safe passage of traffic along the roadway.

Instead of trenching across the street and creating a traffic management nightmare, FSB engineers proposed a horizontal boring of a 10’ diameter utility tunnel which would extend under 8th Street, at a depth of about 20’ below ground. This creative solution provided the following major advantages over a direct-cut approach. Specifically:

  1. Traffic was not disrupted in any of the four lanes of 8th Street.

  2. Construction of temporary detour paving was not required.

  3. Traffic management was not required.

  4. Disruption of multiple significant utilities running alongside 8th Street was not required.

  5. The end result is a walk-able tunnel which provides good access for maintenance personnel.

  6. All piping is easily accessible for repair, as compared to direct burying of the lines.

  7. Additional piping, communications or other services can be easily routed in the future.

  8. The plan achieved significant time and cost savings.


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Oklahoma City, OK


University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center



million square feet of buildings are served by the upgraded steam & chilled water pipes
lanes of traffic left uninterrupted
feet deep tunnel under 8th street