Emanuel: $55M pipeline aims to pull plug on NW Side flooding - KMSP-TV

Emanuel: $55M pipeline aims to pull plug on NW Side flooding

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Days after heavy rains swamped hundreds of homes in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood leaving many without power and gas, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the construction of a $55 million underground pipeline he says will alleviate future flooding.

The one-mile tunnel underneath Foster Avenue will go east from Eugene Park to the North Shore Channel. Construction of the Northwest Side pipeline may begin as early as the beginning of next year.

City officials said that in the event of a flood, the pipeline would move excess water from the north branch of the Chicago River into the North Shore Channel.

Standing in front of a line of sandbags at Eugene Field Park, Emanuel criticized the city's plan following the 2008 flood to install new marshland to help capture excess water. On Thursday, heavy rain flooded the north branch of the Chicago River, affecting hundreds of homes in Albany Park.

"It clearly did not work to the expectations we had," Emanuel said. "While it helped, it did not solve the problem."

Money for the project will come from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, the city, and from the state and federal government, Emanuel said. The new pipeline has been in the planning stages for about a year.

Dan Burke, chief engineer at the MWRD, said the new pipeline will be capable of transferring up to 2,100 cubic feet per second of water. He said the North Shore Channel will have "plenty of capacity," to hold additional flood water.

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