Howard County announced the closing of a $75 million low-interest federal loan to construct a 5,000-foot-long tunnel in Ellicott City, which will be the largest flood mitigation component of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan. 

The funding was secured through the Environmental Protection Agency’s competitive Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, which provides water project construction funding under favorable terms. The EPA funding brings the total investment of county, state and federal dollars in Ellicott City to $167 million during the past four years.

County public works officials said they expect to complete design of the tunnel this year, with construction starting as soon as possible. The project, known as the Extended North Tunnel, will be about 18 feet in diameter and run up to 100-feet underground, just north of Main Street.

Howard County has already broken ground on two other major flood mitigation projects – the H7 and Quaker Mill ponds. Both projects are expected to be completed in the next year and will retain nearly 7.5 million gallons of storm water combined (about the size of a football field covered by 23 feet of water).