The Last Word: Project Director Milton Brooks on Dallas’ Five-Mile-Long Mill Creek Tunnel

“If we do it right, they’ll never know.”

Milton Brooks
Project Director
Mill Creek Tunnel
.…on the $300 million, five-mile-long Mill Creek Drainage Relief Tunnel being built under Dallas, via WFAA.

The $300 million Mill Creek Drainage Relief Tunnel being built under Dallas is five miles long, was excavated up to 38 feet tall and wide, and is described as “the largest hard-rock Gripper tunnel in North America, the Western Hemisphere, and, we think, the world” in a city video. Designed to provide 100-year flood protection for nearly 2,200 commercial and residential properties in the East Dallas area, its official name is almost as long as the tunnel itself: The Mill Creek/Peaks Branch/State-Thomas (MCPBST) Drainage Relief Tunnel.

The 230-foot-long “Big Tex” Herrenknecht Gripper tunnel boring machine that dug the Mill Creek Tunnel made the worker below it look like an ant in a hard hat. [Photo: City of Dallas]

Construction on the tunnel began in 2018, but most people on the surface 100 feet above don’t even know it’s there. Brooks hopes it stays that way, because once the tunnel is completed, all people need to know is that it’s working by improving storm water management in the East Dallas area. The goal: protecting schools, residents, streets, and medical facilities, including Baylor Medical Center

The tunnel winds its way from its first intake near the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas downtown and passes Fair Park on its way southeast to its final “outfall” at White Rock Creek, after which water will eventually reach the Trinity River.

It’s deep, too. [Rendering of Mill Creek Tunnel: City of Dallas]

On May 3, Dallas voters approved Proposition C, which provides $52 million for flood protection and storm drainage improvements, including $20 million earmarked for the Mill Creek Tunnel. 

“It will impact their lives, it will improve the drainage, reduce the flooding, and hopefully it’ll serve the citizens for years to come,” Brooks told WFAA’s Cole Sullivan earlier this month. 

According to WFAA, the city is finishing up the tunnel’s concrete lining, but a ribbon cutting won’t happen soon: the project still has “a couple of years left.”

You can see the WFAA report here and check out that huge tunnel boring machine at this city website.

For more of who said what about all things North Texas, check out Every Last Word.

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.

R E A D   N E X T