Design Aspects of the Minneapolis Central City Parallel Tunnel

Author(s) R. Divito, B.D. Wagner, C.R. Eckdahl, J. Klejwa
Presented at the Rapid Excavation and Tunneling Conference (RETC) 2023, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, June 11-14, 2023.


The existing Central City Tunnel was built primarily in the 1930s with a small portion as old as the 1880s. It conveys stormwater in downtown Minneapolis. It is a 4,400-ft long tunnel located 80 feet underground. The Central City Tunnel has experienced surcharging and surface overflows during heavy rainfall events. This paper presents the details of tunnel and shaft design for the new Central City Parallel Tunnel to mitigate the overflows. The design considered hydraulics and geotechnical engineering for the structural geologic conditions including the weak Saint Peter Sandstone and overlying strong Platteville Limestone. Ground conditions resulted in tunnel designs including large flat-back box tunnels and unique cathedral-shaped tunnel sections.