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Going deep then moving ahead; A look inside the MDC Tunnel Project

HARTFORD — Two hundred feet beneath the streets of the south end of Hartford, a mega tunnel project is well underway.

The South Hartford Conveyance and Storage Tunnel is being built to help areas like the South End of Hartford and Wethersfield deal with flooding issues. The tunnel which is already one mile long, and will ultimately be around four miles long will extend from Hartford into West Hartford.

The project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2023. “You haven’t seen anything like this really in Connecticut,” said Susan Negrelli, the MDC’s director of engineering.

The project which is a venture between the MDC (Metropolitian District) and the Kenny Construction, as well as the Obayashi Corporation, has around 100 workers busy with the nearly 275 million dollar project around the clock, six days a week.

Negrelli added, “it is going to be an 18 foot finished diameter long pipe, four plus miles long and it going to be able to store 42 million gallons of overflow, that’s sanitary and storm waste during wet weather events.”

The construction team has German engineering in motion, what is affectionately known as “Iris” — a massive TBM, or Tunnel Boring Machine, forging ahead about five feet every 20 minutes, when the operation is running smoothly. Negrelli said, “it’s good for the environment, it reduces pollution -- we’re ordered to do it -- but this is good for everyone.”

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