Springfield Department of Public Works Director Chris Cignoli said 25% of the tunnel's design must be completed before the project can be formally approved by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)-- Western Mass News has an update to a story we first brought you Tuesday.

We are learning more about the project for the tunnel underneath German Gerena Community School in Springfield.

Recently, the tunnel, which is open as a public walkway to members of the community, had pooling water and other health concerns that caught the eye of our viewers.

Getting Answers: Maintenance update on the tunnel under Gerena Community School

The city has talked about updating the tunnel for the last year, but officials with Springfield schools tell us the project was delayed due to COVID-19.

The tunnel, which was seen in the process of cleanup Wednesday is overseen by both the school and the city.

Springfield Department of Public Works Director Chris Cignoli said 25% of the tunnel's design must be completed before the project can be formally approved by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

In the next two weeks, Cignoli told Western Mass News the city will have a meeting with MassDOT to discuss their designs for the tunnel.

Later this Fall, Cignoli said there will be a public hearing on the designs to improve the tunnel as well. As for why there's not a clearer timeline, Cignoli said in part-quote:

"We most likely will not get the construction dates until the 25% design has been approved and the yearly schedule review for all regional projects have been completed, that is done in March."

School officials told Western Mass News $15 million worth of improvements has already been made to the building over the years. The school building and tunnel itself were built in the 1970s.

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