Of the $20 million total estimated cost, $5 million went toward building a pump-around system that diverted water west along River Road to Ninth Street. | Photo courtesy of MSD

MSD on Tuesday touted the completion of repairs on a big sewer line under Main Street that disrupted downtown traffic for months, saying the project cost came in just under the utility’s $20 million estimate.

Executive Director Tony Parrott said the work begun in April was completed roughly on time, even though crews were knocked off schedule after discovering a dangerous void under the pavement that forced them to stabilize the street.

“The MSD portion of this work is wrapping up,” Parrott told reporters at the corner of Main and Fourth Streets, flanked by District 4 Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith and MSD’s manager of the project, Heather Dodds, “This is really an unprecedented repair,” he added, noting the 10-foot-diameter conduit typically handles 40 percent of Jefferson County’s wastewater.

Parrott said $5 million of the cost estimate was dedicated to building the large pump-around system that allowed crews to divert the water’s flow so they could work inside the compromised “Ohio River Interceptor,” and not shut down the entire roadway. The remaining $15 million went toward the repair, which MSD said involved using an innovative PVC lining.

“The complete project came in slightly under budget,” Parrott said, adding some restriction of Main Street traffic between Third and Fourth Streets will remain as other utility work is completed.

The Main Street repair is one of many in MSD’s Critical Repair and Reinvestment Plan. MSD has been pressing to be allowed to raise rates by maximum 9.9 percent a year — up from the current maximum of 6.9 percent — to pay for rehabbing sewer lines, flood protection, additional wastewater treatment, and other work. So far, Louisville Metro Council hasn’t approved such an increase. Including $500 million earmarked for a big, federally mandated system upgrade, MSD has estimated it will cost $4.3 billion over 20 years to complete all necessary repairs and improvements.