LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A major road closure scheduled for downtown has now been delayed.
Beginning on May 14, sections of River Road, West Washington Street and Seventh Street were schedule to be closed to traffic through approximately March 2020 for a construction project with MSD's Waterway Protection Tunnel.
MSD announced Sunday afternoon that closure is delayed until further notice.
"The section of river Road at Seventh and west Washington streets that was scheduled to close beginning tomorrow, May 14, will remain open until further notice," A statement from MSD said in part. "In the last few days, MSD has determined potential alternatives that may minimize the length of the closure and/or mitigate the closure. MSD wants to thoroughly analyze these new alternatives before closing this vital roadway."
The construction will be to build a connection point deep in the ground to the tunnel. Called a "drop shaft," this vertical structure, similar to a manhole, will be approximately 200 feet long. When complete, the drop shaft will move waste water and rainwater from the sewer system into the tunnel during heavy rain events. This greatly reduces the combined waters from overflowing into Beargrass Creek and the Ohio River.
MSD will build the shaft in the grassy median at Seventh and Washington streets. MSD is working with local businesses for alternate routes, and to keep parking lots open.
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The $200 million project Waterway Protection Tunnel is part of MSD's larger effort to prevent sewage from overflowing into Louisville's waterways.
MSD's basins and the tunnel will capture rainwater and sewage during rain events. The underground storage areas keep the mixture of rainwater and sewage until the rain subsides then, the mixture is gradually released back into the sewer system for treatment.
The Waterway Protection Tunnel will eliminate 22 combined sewer overflow points that put 351 million gallons of sewage and rainfall in a typical year into the South Fork of Beargrass Creek and the Ohio River. By 2020, MSD hopes to capture and treat 98 percent of the combined sewer overflow volume in a typical year of rain.
More than 2 billion gallons of rainwater and waste water overflow into our waterways each year. MSD's Waterway Protection Tunnel is a way to store this overflow of rainwater and waste water underground until it can be pumped to a treatment facility.