Building a home for the NOvA near detector

As part of the outfitting of the NOvA Near-Detector Cavern, Byus Steel and Area Erectors recently installed steel platforms, stairs and ceilings. The companies are subcontractors to Kiewit Infrastructure Co. Photo: Cindy Arnold

This week contractors reached the final phase of the NOvA Near-Detector Cavern construction project—on time and without any accidents or injuries.

Design of the cavern started in 2008, with the help of engineering firms MWH and Hanson Professional Services. Crews from Kiewit Infrastructure Co. have been working on building the near-detector cavern since May 2012.

“As a laboratory we’re just thrilled with their work,” said FESS engineer Russ Alber. “Rock excavation is dangerous and unpredictable. Kiewit’s proactive approach to safety has been key to keeping the job safe.”

The crews prepared the site by relocating utility pipes and cables in the NuMI beamline to make way for construction. Kiewit excavated nearly 2,000 cubic yards of rock to create the cavern. They’ve completed the installation of the steel platforms and drip ceilings, which will provide protection to and access around the future NOvA near detector. The effort has taken 26,000 man-hours so far.

In the last phase of the project, Kiewit crews will outfit the new cavern with electrical, mechanical and safety systems. In May they are scheduled to turn the completed facility over to the laboratory, which will then get to work installing NOvA’s near detector.

Kathryn Jepsen