LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A portion of one of downtown Louisville's busiest roads is going to close for two years to help make the city's waterways cleaner. 

The Metropolitan Sewer District says it needs to close River Road near the Muhammad Ali Center for its Waterway Protection Tunnel. The $200 million project will protect the city's water system from sewage overflow. 

Beginning May 9, River Road from Sixth to West Washington Streets will close until March 2020. MSD plans to install a tunnel to access a sewage  tunnel. 

Sixth Street will remain open, but drivers will not be able to access River Road from Seventh Street. 

The Waterway Protection Tunnel will eliminate 22 sewer overflow points that put 351 million gallons of sewage and rainfall into the South Fork of Bluegrass Creek and the Ohio River each year. 

Crews broke ground in January on two shafts that will extend more than 18 stories below ground at the entrance site near 12th and Rowan Streets. One will be the access shaft, allowing crew members to get to the tunnel. This is also how they will get the boaring head, like a massive drill, underground to dig the tunnel. The second shaft will connect to the pump station above ground.

The tunnel will be 20 feet in diameter and will extend 2.5 miles east and southeast. 

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