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Mama Jo lowered underground

The tunnel boring machine, Mama Jo, hit a milestone Monday. It's finally going underground since the polar vortex is out of the way.

Posted: Feb 4, 2019 6:05 PM
Updated: Feb 5, 2019 8:44 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The tunnel boring machine- Mama Jo hit a milestone Monday.

It's finally going underground since the polar vortex is out of the way.

Take a good look. It's the last time we will see this part of Mama Jo above ground.

"It's going to take a month to get everything in there properly set and ready to go," project manager TJ Short said.

The cutter head weighing 200 tons and 16 feet long will go 200 feet under the earth's surface.

The total length of the tunnel will go from Glasgow Avenue to Foster Park reducing the number of combined sewer overflows on the rivers.

This project is more than a year in the making. This day is a huge milestone for the crews who've been working on it.

"This machine will be working on a 24 hour a day basis five days a week. There's about a dozen people down in the hole per shift. Still a lot more people above ground to support that work," Short added.

The project has crews from around the world like Italy working on it- proud to be a part of this day.

"For me it's a really emotional day to see. I seen in my work and career more than 20 TBMs going down, but of course it's always a big day. We see Mama Jo for the last time now and hope to see again in the 20 months a retrieval shaft," construction manager Emidio Taburri said.

Over the next two months they'll continually be lowering pieces.

"We are very committed to completing this project in time and in a safely way," he added.

The tunnel boring is expected to be complete by 2021 and the connection to the neighborhood sewers in 2023, which is the same year the tunnel is expected to be in full effect.

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