Bored, mined, and ours.

It took more than 600 days to bore, almost three miles to mine, and it’s all of ours — the Shoreline Storage Tunnel, now a huge step closer to completion.

Standing in front of the massive cutter head of the Shoreline Storage Tunnel boring machine at th end of its journey under the clear blue morning sky 200 feet under Cleveland. The last time this cutterhead saw the light of day was October 4, 2022.

In the wee morning hour of midnight May 30, crumbling concrete signaled the final mining milestone of a major infrastructure project meant to be hidden, designed to serve, and built to last.

The Shoreline Storage Tunnel, the fifth of seven such storage tunnels of Project Clean Lake, successfully completed more than two-and-a-half miles of mining activity early Thursday morning when the tunnel boring machine broke into the final project shaft 100 feet underground.

The McNally crew working the final stretch of our Shoreline Storage Tunnel mining after breaking through on May 30.

The boring machine’s total journey? Fourteen thousand feet over the course of 603 days, mining a 23-foot diameter storage tunnel that will eventually reduce Lake Erie pollution by 350 million gallons a year when finished in late 2025.

Guiding a burrowing behemoth nearly three stories tall and almost 400 feet long through soft ground takes skill and precision, and Construction Manager Bob Auber’s email announcing the achievement to the leadership team stated it plainly:

“Perfect grade and alignment,” he wrote under astounding cell phone photos that captured a dirty job completed with crisp clarity.

As seen from the surface, the Shoreline Storage Tunnel boring machine has just broken through the lined concrete shaft marking the end of its journey.
The tunnel boring machine cutterhead, more than 20 feet in diameter, seen here after advancing through the concrete lining wall of the receiving shaft, completing its 2.6-mile journey.

The Shoreline Storage Tunnel milestone marked the latest advancement of Project Clean Lake, our 25-year $3 billion program to drastically reduce the amount of combined sewage entering local waterways through an innovative blend of tunnel construction, treatment plant expansion, and creative green infrastructure.

Our first three tunnels, now complete and online, were completed on time and under budget: the Doan Valley Tunnel (2021), the Euclid Creek Tunnel (2018) and Dugway Storage Tunnel (2020) finished $5.7 million, $3.6 million and $4.6 million under budget respectively.

Shoreline is the latest to hit a milestone but Westerly is not far behind. The Westerly Storage Tunnel is complete, also coming in under the bid value by $6.7 million, and ready to go online once its dewatering pump station is activated later this year. Our Southerly Tunnel construction is ramping up right now in Cuyahoga Heights and the Slavic Village neighborhood of Cleveland.

The last of the seven will be the Big Creek Tunnel, which is now under design with construction getting started in 2026. Project Clean Lake will be complete in 2036.

“These are stories of progress,” said Chief Executive Officer Kyle Dreyfuss-Wells. “Every one of these tunnels, every Project Clean Lake achievement, they’re all stories of environmental improvements, smart spending, and sound project management.”

As of today, 73 of Project Clean Lake’s 79 total projects are complete or underway, and Lake Erie is nearly 2 billion gallons a year cleaner because of them.



Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Official Medium channel of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland, OH