FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A 5-mile long tunnel that sits more than 100 feet below the surface is a key part of Fort Wayne’s plans to keep the rivers clean.

But in order for the deep rock tunnel to be fully active, the city has to make some more underground improvements.

At Tuesday’s Fort Wayne City Council meeting, councilmembers approved more than $10 million to make some of those improvements.

“This is the next phase, another phase, of our Foster Park combined sewage overflow program,” said Michael Kiester, manager of Construction and Engineering for Fort Wayne City Utilities.

A graphic from the City of Fort Wayne’s website illustrating combined sewer overflow

The system will keep a lid on the combined sewer overflow, which can become problematic when it rains.

The pipe that City Council paid for Tuesday will service the Indian Village Neighborhood.

“Right now, the Indian Village Neighborhood is a combined sewer neighborhood, so when the rain events come, it overwhelms our sanitary sewer pipes and that combined sewage goes into the river,” Kiester said. “We get this pipe in and it will be diverted over to our tunnel, which we can take it over to our wastewater plant and treat it before we return it to the river.”

Construction on this portion of the project is expected to be completed by early 2025.