FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Deep Rock Tunnel project is being called the biggest infrastructure initiative in the history of Fort Wayne City Utilities. Thursday, WANE 15 got a look at the progress.
The Tunnel Boring Machine, nicknamed “MaMaJo,” is more than 200 feet below ground and the Maumee River, somewhere near the Hosey Dam and Anthony Boulevard Bridge. That’s where WANE 15 got our first look at the massive piece of machinery at work.
The machine was named after Fort Wayne’s three rivers – St. Marys, the St. Joseph, and the Maumee – as voted on by residents.
Our journey started with a slow descent through a shaft cut through limestone. It takes your breath away a bit to look up at the blue sky from the bottom.
We then walked about a quarter of a mile through the mostly complete Deep Rock Tunnel. 850 millions of gallons of water will be able to flow through here per day, when it all gets done.
As you get closer to the big drill you find more and more machinery filling the 16-foot diameter space. You know you’re close when you find the small booth and a couple of guys controlling the speed MaMaJo is cutting through stone.
About 20 people work in the tunnel 24 hours a day through the week, with maintenance performed on the weekends.
We couldn’t get a good look at the stone being cut, but we did find walls being installed, clearing the path for more machinery.
It will take another year and a half for the boring machine to get to the end of the tunnel at Foster Park. T.J. Short is the project manager.
By the end of the project, 75 thousand truckloads of limestone gravel will be taken away from the tunnel and used in other city projects.
But just how big is the biggest project in City Utilities? Take a look:
The project is expected to be complete by 2021 and the intricate connection to the neighboring sewers by 2023. Officials say if all goes according to plan, the tunnel will be operational in 2023.
To see the progress of Mama Jo and get updates on the Deep Rock Tunnel Project, click HERE.