Benefits of the Waterway Protection Tunnel

The Waterway Protection Tunnel will capture 25 combined sewer overflow points that now discharge 439 million gallons of mixtures of sewage and rainwater in a typical rainfall year that flow into the South Fork of Beargrass Creek and the Ohio River. 

The tunnel will allow capture these overflows and store the mixtures until the rain subsides and sewer system capacity is available. The mixture will then be pumped back into the sewer system and conveyed to our Morris Forman Water Quality Treatment Center resulting in a safer, cleaner environment and waterways for our community.


Photo Credit: John Nation

MSD’s Waterway Protection Tunnel is an innovative solution that replaces four storage basins originally planned to be located near Lexington Road and Payne Street; Story Avenue and Main Street; Lexington Road and Grinstead Drive; and 13th and Rowan streets. Now, advances in technology and reductions in the cost to build the tunnel make it feasible to use a tunnel instead of four basins, with the added benefit of 10 million gallons of extra storage space. 

The tunnel will have more storage capacity than the four basins for approximately the same costs while being less disruptive to Louisville’s Main Street arts and business district, Butchertown’s business district, Irish Hills’ residential community, and area traffic during the three-year construction period.

In addition, construction on the tunnel project will create about 200 jobs.


Land provided for Waterfront Park expansion

When the Waterway Protection Tunnel is complete, the construction staging area at 12th and Rowan streets will be turned over to the Waterfront Development Corporation to be developed into an expansion for Waterfront Park.

Plans call for a public green space for the community to enjoy, including pathways, footbridges, play areas, fountains and sculptures. MSD worked closely with Waterfront Development on the design of the pump station so that it compliments the planned park expansion.

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