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Big year ahead for Fort Wayne tunnel project

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - The new year figures to be an important one as the City of Fort Wayne presses toward completion of a deeprock tunnel that will greatly reduce river pollution.

"MamaJo," the Tunnel Boring Machine (whose name is derived from the three rivers that flow through the city), has now drilled its way more than three miles on its nearly five-mile course.

And officials expect to finish that journey in 2021.

According to the Fort Wayne Utilities Department:

  • MamaJo is now south of Jefferson Boulevard.
  • When completed, the tunnel and related projects will keep nearly 1 billion gallons of combined sewage out of our rivers each year.
  • 2021 starts year 14 of the 18-year Consent Decree plan to improve our sewer system and protect our rivers. 
  • In the first 13 years, more than 1 billion gallons of combined sewage has been kept out of our rivers.
  • In the first 13 years, work was done in 200 neighborhoods, protecting more than 33,000 homes. 
  • In the first 13 years, we completed work ahead of time on the St. Joseph River and have not had a sewage overflow on that river in nearly 44 months. 
  • In the first 13 years, investments of $665 million, supported 19,000 construction and related jobs, most of which are local companies.

Completion of the tunnel boring later this year does not mark the end of the project. The intricate connection to the many neighborhood sewers is scheduled to take place thereafter, with the tunnel going operational in 2023.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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