Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) -- Site Utility Steam Distribution Pit 59/10- AG Bulletin Replacement
University of Wisconsin – Madison
DFD Project #19G2D

The State of Wisconsin Department of Administration/Department of Facilities Development (DOA/DFD) has retained Ayres Associates on behalf of The University of Wisconsin – Madison (UWMadison) Facilities Planning, and Management (FPM) to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed improvement of the steam pit 59/10 area thermal utilities at UW-Madison along the Hiram Smith Building, Hiram Smith Annex Building, Agricultural Hall, the Microbial Sciences building, and the Agricultural Bulletin Building from Observatory Drive to Linden Drive in Madison, Wisconsin.

The EIA will be prepared in accordance with the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA), Wisconsin Statutes 1.11, and UWSA guidelines (Board of Regents’ Resolution 2508, November 6, 1981). An initial requirement of the EIA is the scoping process. The intent of the scoping process is to identify at an early stage potential beneficial or adverse impacts of the project on the physical, biological, social, and economic environments. Because you or your agency or group may have an interest in the project, we are inviting you to participate in the scoping process.

Project Background

This project provides investigation and research, pre-design, and design services to replace an arched brick steam tunnel that includes high pressure steam (HPS), low pressure steam (LPS), pumped condensate return (PCR), and compressed air (CA) utilities between steam pit 59/10 and the Agricultural Bulletin Building, Soils Hall, and King Hall. The steam pits and underground utilities will be evaluated to identify deficiencies, develop design solution alternatives, and recommend appropriate corrective measures.

Proposed Project Action

Project work proposes replacing approximately 600 LF of High-Pressure Steam, Low-Pressure Steam, PCR, and Compressed Air piping from steam pit 59/10 on Linden Drive to the Agricultural Bulletin Building. Portions of the arched brick tunnel will be abandoned between Hiram Smith and Hiram Smith Annex and relocated as a new utility tunnel east of Hiram Smith Annex. The utility tunnel to the Agricultural Bulletin Building will be replaced with a concrete tunnel and 10-inch HPS, 10-inch LPS, 6- inch PCR and 3-inch CA piping. The arched brick tunnel from the Agricultural Bulletin Building to Soils Hall and King Hall will also be replaced with steam box conduits from the new tunnel. All areas disturbed by the project will be fully restored, including roadways, curb and gutters, pedestrian walkways, terraces, landscape plantings, retaining walls, stairs, and site structures. Temporary steam, condensate and compressed air will be required to serve connected loads while the box conduit is being constructed. Project work also includes traffic controls phasing drawings and asbestos abatement of piping insulation as required.

This section of arched brick steam tunnel was installed just after 1910 when the Agricultural Bulletin Building heating plan was replaced by the heating plant previously located in the Service Building Annex on University Avenue. Groundwater is damaging the arched brick structure and is difficult to control. Attempts in other locations to waterproof this type of structure have not been successful and it is difficult to excavate an arched structure without the possibility of caving in the tunnel.

Pedestrian and bike traffic will require various detours and rerouting at various times throughout the project. Directional boring will be used on Observatory Drive so impact will not be impacted, however traffic will be impacted on Linden Drive and service roads and parking at to Hiram Smith Hall, Hiram Smith Annex, Agricultural Hall, King Hall, the Soils Building, the Agricultural Bulletin Building, and the Microbial Sciences Building.

Note that the existing landscape, trees, and shrub plantings will be disturbed during construction as will pedestrian pathways and pedestrian traffic, parking, and other paved surfaces. Upon completion of the utility systems, all areas disturbed by the project will be fully restored or rebuilt, including roadways, gutters, terrace areas, street trees, sidewalks, landscaping features, and site structures. Note that the project is near and, in some cases adjacent to National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) listed facilities and landscapes but impacts to them or other archeological features are not expected. Crack monitoring may be employed on NRHP facilities to assure they are not damaged during construction.

The project budget is estimated at $6,582,000 funded using $4,542,000 from General Fund Supported Borrowing and $2,040,000 from Program Revenue Supported Borrowing (PRSB).

Below is a summary of the targeted project schedule:

A/E Selection:September 2020
Design Concept Report Submittal:May 2021
Design Report Submittal:June 2021
BOR/SBC Authority to Construct:August 2021
Bid Date:December 2021
Begin Construction:April 2022
Substantial Completion:November 2022
Occupancy:June 2023

A project location map and aerial photo of the project site are provided as Attachments 1 and 2, respectively.

EIA Schedule

The EIA report evaluated the potential positive and adverse environmental impacts of the project in accordance with the WEPA and UWSA guidelines. Issues identified during the scoping process were addressed in the Draft EIA report. As part of our standard EIA process, Ayres Associates researched available databases and resources to collect information pertaining to the project's environmental, social, economic, cultural, or historical aspects. The Draft EIA report was be made available to the public for a 15-day comment period in November, 2021. A notice was published in state and local media to announce the availability of the Draft EIA. Following completion of the public comment period, a public information meeting was held and any comments received were be evaluated.

Appropriate revisions were incorporated into the Final EIA document based on comments received during the 15-day comment period and public information meeting.

The Final EIA report was distributed on December 23, 2021

Click Here to View:
Final Environmental Impact Assessment (52,887 Kb, PDF)