More than 2 billion gallons of rainwater and wastewater overflow into local waterways each year. Thankfully, construction is underway on MSD’s $200 million Waterway Protection Tunnel that is designed to mitigate this problem.
The tunnel – planned for completion in 2020 – is an innovative way to store this overflow of rainwater and wastewater underground until it can be pumped to MSD’s Morris Forman Water Quality Treatment Center. It will be able to store up to 37 million gallons of combined rainwater and wastewater when complete.
The project is one part of MSD’s $900 million Project WIN that will reduce sewer overflows by 98 percent in a typical rainfall year. The tunnel replaces three storage basins originally planned to be located near Lexington Road and Payne Street; Story Avenue and Main Street; and 13th and Rowan streets, allowing for more storage capacity at the same cost. Construction on the tunnel project will create about 200 jobs.
Construction on the tunnel “drop shafts” – similar to a manhole and used to access the tunnel – began in January 2018. These are located at 12th and Rowan streets, 7th and Washington streets, and Franklin and Buchanan streets. Upon completion of the project, the construction staging area at 12th and Rowan streets will be turned over to the Waterfront Development Corporation to be developed into an expansion for Waterfront Park.