“MamaJo” winning name for tunnel boring machine

Local News

The Deep Rock Tunnel project is being called one of the biggest infrastructure initiatives in the history of Fort Wayne and the boring machine that will carve the 16-foot diameter, five-mile long tunnel now has a name.

MamaJo was the name chosen in an online vote over three other names.  

The name was taken from the first two letters of the three rivers that run through Fort Wayne; Maumee, St. Marys and St. Joseph.  

“The naming of the TBM brings a little fun to an important community project that will serve our community well for generations to come,” said Kumar Menon, Director of City Utilities.  “This massive five-mile long sewer tunnel will protect our rivers, protect neighborhoods and help support thousands of good paying jobs over the next five years. It will support a renewed interest in riverfront development and business expansion, while engaging our schools and colleges in environmental improvements that will enrich our region for generations to come.”  

The Deep Rock Tunnel project is part of Fort Wayne’s agreement with the federal government aimed at reducing the amount of sanitary sewage that mixes with storm water and is currently being discharged to our rivers during heavy rains. 

“In six years when the tunnel is operational, we will see several benefits. The biggest benefit will be a 90 percent reduction in the amount of combined sewer overflow going into our rivers. That’s a reduction of more than 850 billion gallons on average each year,” said Matthew Wirtz, Deputy Director of Engineering for City Utilities. “Additionally, our creeks and streams will be cleaner as will waterways downstream and all the way to Lake Erie.  We will also see a reduction in neighborhood street flooding and basement back-ups.” 

MamaJo is expected to start her journey and begin digging the tunnel later this year.  Completion of the tunnel boring is expected by 2021, and the intricate connection to the many neighborhood sewers by in 2023.  The tunnel will be operational in 2023. 

Tours of MamaJo will take place beginning on Sunday, September 9, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the working shaft site near the intersection of Dwenger and Glasgow Avenue.  More information about the tours will be announced in coming weeks. 

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