FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Throughout the last few years, FOX 55 has been updating you on the deep rock tunnel. The project began as part of a federal court order to reduce the amount of combined sewage going into our rivers each year, which has negative impacts on neighborhoods and residents.
FOX 55 got a sneak peek down into the tunnel on Thursday.
At the bottom of the 220 foot drop shaft at the end of Glasgow Street sits the deep rock tunnel. The tunnel is only about quarter of a mile long right now, but it's at this point where things really kick into gear according to project director Jim Kabat.
"We'd like to average about 75 feet of tunnel a day, that's on three shifts. That's an average. In order to do that, we're going to have to hit some 100 foot days, some 120 foot days and so forth like that to counterbalance days where we may have to shut down to do maintenance."
That 75 feet per day will eventually add up to 5 miles ending at Foster Park, but it's not a straight shot. The tunnel boring machine uses hydraulics to steer the grinding head.
"They have what they call parameters. They set these parameters, it's in the computer. They already have it all set up and if they need to make fine adjustments, they can do that."
Down inside the hot and humid tunnel, the boring machine grinds away at the limestone rock. Concrete panels line the tunnel to keep it from collapsing.
Fort Wayne's manager of engineering says the city will be saving some money from the project.
"One of the big savings we have is, obviously, we're down in limestone. We're generating a lot of limestone. We'll end up with over 75,000 truck loads of limestone as a product of this. It'll save the city close to $3 million dollars in offset cost for not having to buy that rock on the open market."
The city uses it as backfill and on road construction projects and now that it's full steam ahead.
Kabat hopes the 15 month timeline to complete the tunnel will be chipped away.
"I'm always very optimistic and I'm looking at improving on that. That 15 months will be there if we hit our stride at 75, 78 feet a day, but if we can improve on that, we would like to finish this sooner."