June 15, 2017 - At a ceremonial groundbreaking today, the largest construction and public investment project in the City’s history began a journey that will extend for five miles underneath the City at a depth of 200-feet below the earth’s surface.

Mayor Tom Henry joined members of the Fort Wayne City Council, neighborhood leaders, world-renowned construction contractors and City Utilities staff members to break ground for the Three Rivers Protection and Overflow Reduction Tunnel (3RPORT). The deep-rock tunnel is a major portion of the effort to clean-up Fort Wayne’s rivers and protect neighborhoods from basement back-ups and street flooding. 

“The tunnel project will have significant environmental and economic benefits for generations to come,” said Mayor Henry. “To be a point of destination City, it’s critical that we invest in projects that will have a lasting and meaningful impact. A successful future for our community and region depends on safe, effective and efficient wastewater treatment facilities and best practices.” 

World leaders in the tunnel construction industry, S.A. Healy and Salini Impregilo, are teaming to construct Fort Wayne’s sewer transportation tunnel. The companies have a strong track-record of building tunnels and other utility infrastructure on every continent and in more than 50 countries around the world. The project represents an investment of $188 million and is designed with a life expectancy of 100 years.

“We are very excited about this project. This is the fourth Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) we are building in the USA. Projects that improve quality of life, environmental projects, and renewable energy projects are part of the values and the main core business of our group of companies. We look forward to working with the local workforce and the local business community and authorities,” said Giuseppe Quarta, Executive Vice President P3, Large Projects and Tunneling for The Lane Construction Corporation, and President of S.A. Healy Company.  

Fort Wayne’s tunnel has attracted world-wide attention, but the benefits will improve the local community in the short-term and far into the future.

“We know that in four to six years we will see a 90 percent reduction in the amount of combined sewer overflow going into our rivers – a reduction of more than 850 billion gallons on average each year. That will benefit the entire community and our waterways as well as those downstream all the way to Lake Erie.  We also know that in the next four to six years we will see a reduction in neighborhood street flooding and basement back-ups. The tunnel will directly help 30 neighborhoods, 15,000 properties and around 45,000 residents,” said Matthew Wirtz, Deputy Director of City Utilities.

“We are thankful for the strong and consistent support we’ve received from Mayor Henry, the City Council and neighborhood residents across the community,” said Kumar Menon, Deputy Director of City Utilities. “They understand that the tunnel will serve multiple generations of families and businesses. It will support a renewed interest in riverfront development, business expansion and provide environmental improvements that will serve our community well.”

Today’s groundbreaking was held at the hub of the tunnel construction area near the planned working shaft and where the construction building will be.  When construction is completed, a pump station associated with the tunnel operation will be located on this site.   The building will be completed this fall and the working shaft will be completed next spring. In the summer of 2018 pieces of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) will be delivered and after assembly, the TBM will be put in the ground and is expected to begin its journey in late summer of 2018. The project will also include nine drop shafts in several neighborhoods. 

Quick Facts

  • 5 miles - length of tunnel, stretching from Glasgow Avenue to Foster Park
  • 200 - 250 feet - tunnel depth below earth surface
  • 16 feet - tunnel finished interior diameter
  • 800 million gallons – amount of flow that can travel through the tunnel per day
  • 90% - percentage this project will reduce the number of combined sewer overflows on our rivers
  • 2017 – working shaft (the hole dug to send the Tunnel Boring Machine down to bedrock) construction will begin and will be completed by spring of 2018
  • 2018 (late summer) – Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) will begin the journey through Fort Wayne’s bedrock
  • 2021 – tunnel is expected to be completed by late summer/early fall of that year
  • 2023 - Tunnel pump station complete and tunnel put into operation
  • For more information visit www.fortwaynetunnel.org.