4th Street Tunnel Repair Project

MCES Project No. 807665

Understandably, the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has raised questions about the status of Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) plant and interceptor construction projects. Please note the following:

  • Construction on wastewater treatment plants and sewer interceptors will continue. The contractors are following working environment protocols (asking employees to stay home if they are sick, social distancing, etc.) as outlined by public health agencies.

  • Some project staff are working remotely while others remain on-site to ensure proper oversight of the project. Staff will stay connected through emails, conference calls, and web-based meetings to manage construction activities.

Contact information

For information regarding construction, please call the construction hotline or send an email to the contact information listed on the bottom of that project’s website.

Subscribe to construction updates

While the response to COVID-19 continues to evolve, we will continue to monitor and review construction activities and conditions through our field inspectors and their on-site reporting.

We will be using electronic communication methods to share information, should there be additional updates. Subscribe to updates by text or email.

Minnesota's response to COVID-19

The latest information on the state’s response can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health website.



Text Alert Icons Project Alert

Project Complete - July 31, 2020.  See Project Updates below.

The tunnel access shafts and repairs to the existing sewer tunnel beneath 4th Street in downtown Minneapolis are complete. MCES will use the new access shafts to conduct routine inspections of the existing sewer tunnel. If you have further questions about this project, please contact us by email at SewerImprovements@metc.state.mn.us or call Tim O’Donnell, MCES Project Citizen Liaison, at 651.602.1269.


Project Description

Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES), operator of the metro-area wastewater collection and treatment system, constructed two deep tunnel access shafts and made repairs to the existing sewer tunnel beneath 4th Street in downtown Minneapolis.

The sewer tunnel was originally constructed in 1885 and is more than 80 feet deep. A void space above the tunnel was left after it was constructed. The space has been deteriorating, allowing sandstone pieces to potentially fall and damage the sewer tunnel. To make improvements, construction crews installed two new access shafts beneath 4th Street, removed debris in the void, repaired damage to the sewer tunnel, and then filled the void with grout.

Rendering graphic of soil layers present under the road on 4th Street. Just under the road is soil, followed by limestone, and sandstone on the bottom. The 8 foot steel access shaft runs from 4th Street down approximately 80 feet into the sandstone. From there, an access tunnel in the sandstone layer, leads to the existing sewer tunnel.


Project area map graphic shows the location of the sanitary sewer pipe along South 4th Street between North 1st Avenue and South Marquette Avenue noting the pipe is at a depth of approximately 85 feet. New access shafts will be installed on South 4th Street just east of Hennepin Avenue and Marquette Avenue.

4th Street Tunnel Repair Project Overvew (PDF)

4th Street Tunnel Repair Project Area Map (PDF)

Illustration of Tunnel Access Shafts (PDF)


Project Updates


Project Update - July 31, 2020 (PDF) 138 kB

Project Update - February 25, 2020 (PDF) 411 kB

Project Update - December 18, 2019 (PDF) 351 kB

Project Update - October 7, 2019 (PDF) 574 kB

Project Update - August 7, 2019 (PDF) 399 kB

Project Contacts

If you have any additional questions about this project, please contact:

Tim O'Donnell, Citizen Liaison
Metropolitan Council Environmental Services
Phone: 651.602.1269
Email: SewerImprovements@metc.state.mn.us

Capital Improvement Program