The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Tuesday, 15 January 2019 01:00

Tunnel in Chicago prevents an area from flooding

Tunnel Protects Chicago Neighborhood from Flooding Tunnel Protects Chicago Neighborhood from Flooding.

A tunnel designed to divert rainfall water has resolved a persistent flooding issue in Chicago's Albany Park.

 The diversion tunnel utilizes a network of supplemental tunnels and shafts to carry the storm water from the north branch to the north channel of the Chicago River by using gravitational forces. As a result, floods are prevented in Albany Park.

The 1770 meter length facility is located about 45 meters below the Foster Avenue. Its construction began in April 2016 and completed in May 2018. In the past decade, 2 major storms, in 2008 and 2013, struck the area of Chicago causing severe damage from flooding in the area of Albany Park. Therefore, the construction of the $62.8 million tunnel was crucial.

A Robbins Main Beam Hard Rock TBM, assembled in a 45-meter deep shaft in River Park, was utilized to excavate through dolomite limestone.

Throughout the construction works, the impact of the project on the community was considered. The construction team developed a system to warn residents about potential disruptions. "The WSP team, with the support of CDOT (Chicago Department of Transportation), developed a comprehensive communication plan for construction. The plan empowered the construction team and community partners to proactively resolve potential impacts from construction operations and align efforts with the best interest of the community in order to achieve and maintain success at varying levels and perspectives," Sonny Jaramilla, resident engineer who led the project for WSP USA (construction manager), stated.

The system has already performed excellent when storms struck the area of Chicago in 2018. "In May and June, the tunnel was operated multiple times to reduce the risk of the Albany neighborhood flooding from significant weather events. The Albany Park neighborhood did not flood," Jaramilla stated.

The project was selected by The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), Illinois chapter, for a 2019 Engineering Excellence Award and received an Honors Award in the water resources project category.


Read 180 times Last modified on Tuesday, 15 January 2019 16:01

The News Center is being funded by our Annual Corporate Sponsors " (learn more):