For residents near Foster Park the past year has been a traffic nightmare due to the closure of the direct access to Rudisill Blvd. from the Broadway / Bluffton Road intersection. Although there was a formal detour map and road-side signs intended to direct traffic, thousands of drivers every day chose to shortcut the detour by using the easily accessed smaller streets, which caused many reported issues for the safety of residents and their vehicles on West Oakdale Drive, Beaver Avenue and Illsley Drive. But soon, those traffic concerns should be quelled as the City of Fort Wayne begins to complete the final stage of their cleanup after the south section of the Tunnel Works Program, Deep Rock Tunnel project.

Contrary to announcements from area neighborhood associations claiming that the work could be complete as soon as September 4th, according to City spokesperson, Frank Suárez, the road blocks should be removed and regular traffic will resume closer to mid-September after crews finish re-paving and striping. However, residents and regular drivers through the area are advised to use caution, as the City will be continuing to make smaller improvements (like planting grass) through October.

The opening of the intersection will come about 6 months early, as the original plan was to keep the intersection closed for 18 months.

However the inconvenience, the objective of the tunnel dug more than 200-feet by boring machine, “MamaJo” is to collect and transport sewage from the combined sewer system to the sewage treatment plant. This sewage would otherwise discharge (overflow) into the rivers when it rains. Like many cities in the United States, portions of the City of Fort Wayne use a single pipe system to carry a combination of sanitary sewage and stormwater.

During dry weather, the pipe capacity is adequate to carry sanitary flows to the sewage treatment plant. When it rains, the added stormwater can overwhelm these combined sewer lines and the system discharges combined sewage and stormwater through a number of outfall locations to the rivers. The Tunnel Works Program, together with other key parts of the Long-Term Control Plan, will reduce the number of times combined sewer overflows occur in a typical year from about 71 times to just 4 times on the St. Marys and Maumee Rivers. Investment in the Tunnel Works Program will improve river water quality and benefit Fort Wayne and surrounding areas for generations to come.

It was recently announced that Mamajo has reached the halfway point of the tunnel. and is on-track to be completed by 2023. The design work began in 2014 and will take about three years to fully complete. Construction of the tunnel is expected to begin in 2017 and will be completed by 2023. Construction surrounding the Foster Park relief sewer may extend to 2025.

More information about this project can be found on www.cityoffortwayne.org/mamajo.html

UPDATE (09/03/2020) From City Spokesperson, Frank Suárez:

The consolidation sewer that will help protect the St. Marys River from combined sewer overflows is installed and the intersection of Rudisill and Broadway will open on Friday, September 4, 2020.  Crews will begin moving the barricades in the morning.

City Utilities worked with neighborhood leaders to keep the intersection closed through September in order to cut down the overall length of time needed to complete the project.  The result will see final restoration wrap up next month on the project that was originally slated to run through February of 2021.

While the intersection is now open, a lane restriction for landscape, walk and trail restoration will be needed through October, however traffic will flow in all directions.

A consolidation sewer is a near-surface sewer that collects or consolidates the flow from existing sewer pipes, and at this location will convey the flow to the Three Rivers Protection and Overflow Tunnel (3RPORT).  The consolidation pipes that will be constructed at Rudisill and Broadway will collect combined sewage (sanitary and stormwater) from a 126-inch pipe under Rudisill and a 30-inch pipe that comes in from the south to this intersection.

The consolidation sewer is an essential project in efforts to protect our rivers. This location is the most significant CSO point within the City’s river system.  An average of 392 million gallons of combined sewage is dumped into the St. Marys at this location, each year.

Alex Cornwell

Alex Cornwell

The Owner & Publisher of The Waynedale News. Alex is a community leader and founder of various organizations, events & improvement initiatives in the area. He is also the recipient of 2019's Allen County Vandeveer Impact Award and 2012's University of Saint Francis' Distinguished Young Alumni Award. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer