MSD to extend Waterway Protection Tunnel project

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - MSD's tunnel project to keep sewage from the Ohio River and Beargrass Creek will be extended, but is expected to keep the same completion date..

The original Waterway Protection Tunnel was planned to be 18 stories underground and span 2.5 miles, from 12th and Rowan streets to East Main Street.

MSD's board voted unanimously last week to approve an extension of the project, to four miles total length, reaching Lexington Road and Grinstead Drive.

This extension nearly doubles the tunnel's capacity from 37 million to 55 million gallons.

"Extending the tunnel creates the opportunity to meet our goal of safer, cleaner waterways and environment for our community with less above-ground construction impacts," said MSD Executive Director Tony Parrott.

The extension also eliminates the need for a storage basin project previously planned by MSD.

MSD says after the tunnel is constructed and in operation, it will save money through lower operations and maintenance costs.

"Unlike a new highway or a new bridge, Louisville residents may never see this major infrastructure project because it will be 18 stories underground," Parrott said. "But the benefits are real in terms of keeping hundreds of millions of gallons of wastewater from overflowing every year, which has direct impacts on quality of life and economic development opportunities in our community."

Despite the extension, MSD says it is still scheduled to finish the project on time, by the end of 2020.

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