A major sewer rehabilitation project will begin winding its way through the Landmark’s coverage area starting later this year or early next year, and it will be a source of periodic traffic headaches and inconvenience through 2018.

It’s all part of a $41 million project being undertaken by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) to rehabilitate the roughly 2-mile-long Salt Creek Intercepting Sewer No. 2, which collects waste water from 16 suburban communities and pipes it to the MWRD’s water treatment plant in Stickney.

The sewer winds south from roughly Roosevelt Road along First Avenue and then Golfview Avenue before veering east diagonally beneath Brookfield Zoo and Riverside-Brookfield High School.

At Ridgewood Road, the sewer forms a T and heads west down Ridgewood Road/Washington Avenue to Arden Avenue where it forms another T, heading north to 31st Street and south to Patricia Drive in Lyons.

The sewer also goes east down Forest Avenue to Longcommon Road then south below the tracks and along the entire length of Riverside Road to Miller Roads, where it exits Riverside.

The largest sections — at roughly 7 feet in diameter — run below Forest Avenue and Riverside Road in Riverside. The pipes in Brookfield measure between 1 and 5 feet in diameter.

Those pipes will be lined with a tube impregnated with a resin that cures like concrete when it’s exposed to heat, essentially forming a new pipe within the original pipes, which date to 1927. Crews will work in 1,000-foot sections and the pipes, which are 35 feet below street level, will be accessed either by existing manholes or by 7-foot-wide drop shafts, which will have to be dug in the public right of way.

Last summer, the MWRD began preparing for the project by digging an access shaft on First Avenue at Forest Avenue; the work reduced lanes and snarled traffic on the busy state highway for about four months.

When work on the intercepting sewer begins in North Riverside, Riverside and Brookfield, there will be periods of time when streets will be closed or traffic lanes will be reduced.

North Riverside officials indicated last month that work crews may reach that village sometime late in 2015. 

Allison Fore, public and intergovernmental affairs officer for the MWRD, told the Landmark that work along Ridgewood Road in front of Riverside-Brookfield High School will begin during the summer of 2016. Work on the pipe that runs north from Washington along Arden Avenue and into the zoo property should take place during the winter of 2016-17.

Work on the largest section of pipe, in Riverside, is expected to take place during 2017 and through spring of 2018.

According to plans submitted to Riverside in 2011, it takes about 144 hours of continuous heating for each 1,000-foot section of pipe to cure, which is why the MWRD has been asking municipalities to pass resolutions allowing them to work 24 hours per day during the project.

North Riverside granted permission on April 20. Riverside followed suit May 21. Brookfield has not yet passed a similar resolution.

The MWRD originally planned to kick off the project in 2012, but could not obtain the funding. But the project has been included in the agency’s 2015 budget, and the MWRD expects to award a contract for the work in September. The agency anticipates work won’t be completed until the end of May 2018.