A 5-foot diameter sinkhole approximately eight to 10 feet deep in a forested area east of the Des Plaines River near Ogden Avenue in Riverside no longer poses a danger to anyone hiking through the woods.
Last week, employees from the Riverside Public Works Department installed two sections of corrugated steel culvert on top of an old collapsed combined sewer overflow structure belonging to the village.
The pipe is one of four combined sewer structures that outfall into the Des Plaines River. The other three empty into the river near the Barrypoint Bridge, near the intersection of Gage and Riverside roads and along Maplewood Road.
No one is quite sure how old the structures are, but officials suspect the one that runs east and west from Miller Road to the river through a section of Cook County Forest Preserve District land collapsed in the wake of the April 2013 flood.
The collapse caused a sinkhole to form, and it sat open for months while officials attempted to determine who was responsible for repairing it. Eventually, it was determined that the pipe, which is constructed of brick or stone, was Riverside’s property.
After installing the culvert sections (similar to the kind seen along rural roadways) public works employees filled the sinkhole with concrete. All that remained as of late last week was for top soil to be spread over the concrete.
No other sections of the roughly 4- to 5-foot diameter pipe appear to be in danger of collapse at this time, said Public Works Director Edward Bailey.
“It’s an old structure, so there’s always some concern for further deterioration,” said Bailey.
Bailey said he didn’t have a final accounting for the cost to complete the fix, but said the price tag was kept down by doing the work in house.
“It was relatively inexpensive,” said Bailey.
Village Manager Peter Scalera in June said the village was hoping that the cost for repairs would be shared with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, which also has drainage structures running through the area that connect with the combined sewer overflow structure.
In the end, Riverside was forced to go it alone.
“We just ate the whole cost ourselves,” Scalera said.