New Jefferson City Water Tunnel Halfway Done
JEFFERSON CITY - Reporters had a chance Wednesday to walk through a partially-complete tunnel under the Missouri River. Missouri American Water is building the tunnel to deliver water from the Missouri River to its water treatment plant. The company says the tunnel will increase capacity and efficiency.
Gilbert Cole, operations superintendent for Missouri American Water, said the current system is outdated. Some parts of the current system haven't been replaced since 1888. "Quite frankly, I'm amazed it's lasted as long as it has," Cole said. "It's done a wonderful job but it's time to retire."
The new 220-foot tunnel will connect a new water intake at the bed of the Missouri River to a pumping station on the shore. From there, the water will go to a treatment plant, and then to the approximate 11,000 customers served by the utility.
Jefferson City Mayor John Landwehr said the project has long-term importance. He recalled the 2005 and 2006 summer water shortages that forced Jefferson City to limit outdoor water use. "This is a response to [those shortages]," Landwehr said. "It should be a relief to the entire community that we have this new access to a continuous flow of water. It should help us sleep at night."
According to both Landwehr and Cole, the new tunnel's capacity will meet the area's peak water demands. Cole said the tunnel should be completed by this December.