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3 things to know about the massive new tunnel now operating deep under Louisville

Jun 16, 2022

Louisville has a troubled history with human waste.

With enough rain, the city's raw sewage has, time and time again, overflowed into nearby waterways, including the Ohio River. The pathogens and excess nutrients in that effluent can have harmful effects on humans and ecosystems, spelling trouble for anyone or anything downstream.

Now, Louisville's Metropolitan Sewer District has completed a project it hopes will provide relief: The Waterway Protection Tunnel is now fully operational. Here are a few things to know about it:

It's huge

The massive tunnel lies 18 stories below the city, stretching for 4 miles from 11th and Rowan streets to near Lexington Road and Grinstead Drive.

Building infrastructure of that magnitude was no easy feat. In 2018, tunnel-boring machines excavated 625,000 tons of rock beneath Louisville, making way for workers to lay a concrete lining intended to prevent any leaks.

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