In May, the City of Fort Wayne called on residents to vote on a name for its new tunnel boring machine, which aims to dig a five-mile, 200-foot deep underground tunnel in an effort to improve the quality of the city’s rivers.
Voters selected the name “MamaJo,” which according to the city “overwhelmingly” beat out its opponents Bedrock Buster, Daisy the Digger and Wayne the Worm.
City of Fort Wayne chief engineer Matthew Wirtz says he’s pleased with the machine’s name, and that it represents the city well.
“Our original name for the tunnel was the Three Rivers Protection and Overflow Reduction Tunnel -- a big, nasty old acronym -- so MamaJo fits better, but it’s still the protector of our rivers.”
“MamaJo” will dig through the ground at five feet-per-hour, due to its massive size. As a result, the city projects it will complete digging the five-mile tunnel within 18 months.
The tunnel project will connect sewers from an area northest of downtown to the Foster Park neighborhood, and will be operational by 2023. The tunnel boring machine will begin its work later this year, according to the city.
At the completion of the project, officials hope to see a 90 percent reduction in the amount of combined sewer overflow going into the rivers, more than 850 billion gallons.
The name "MamaJo" is a combination of the first two letters from Fort Wayne's three rivers: "Ma" from Marys, "Ma" from Maumee and "Jo" from Joseph.
The machine has a diamter of more than 20 feet, and stretches more than 400 feet in length, according to the city.