A massive sewer repair project that’s been on hold for the past four years, will commence in Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside as early as next week and will result in traffic and neighborhood disruptions for the next 16 months.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has hired Kenny Construction to oversee the $41 million project to rehabilitate the 90-year-old, 6.2-mile long Salt Creek Intercepting Sewer No. 2, which collects waste water from 16 communities and conveys it to the Stickney treatment plant.

The sewer runs from roughly Roosevelt Road south down First Avenue, it follows Golfview Road to 31st Street, where it cuts diagonally to the southeast underneath Brookfield Zoo to the intersection of Forest and First avenues.

From there the sewer heads both east and west. The largest section of the sewer, 7 feet in diameter, heads east into Riverside along Forest Avenue to Longcommon Road. It crosses under the tracks and follows Riverside Road to Miller Road, where it exits the village.

West from First Avenue, sewer pipes extend along Ridgewood Road/Washington Avenue to Arden Avenue, where it forms a T intersection and heads north to 31st Street and south to about Patricia Drive in Lyons.

According to a map provided to the Landmark by the MWRD, work is anticipated to begin on First Avenue in two locations. Work will begin at First Avenue at 13th Street and will move from north to south along First Avenue to 30th Street.

Along that route, Kenny Construction plans to rehabilitate the sewer line by inserting a flexible tube impregnated with resin into the pipe. The tube is expanded by filling it with hot water, curing it in place.

Work will be done in 1,000-foot segments, which will necessitate creating 12-foot diameter access shafts in order to insert the flexible tube into the pipe. The tube curing process takes six days, around the clock.

According to Carmen Scalise, principal civil engineer for the MWRD, there are six access shafts planned along First Avenue.

At the same time work begins up north, work will commence in Riverside at the intersection of First and Forest avenues. In order to allow sewers to continue operating while work moves ahead, the company will install a temporary flow bypass at First and Forest. Pumping equipment will be set up at the site and enclosed by fencing.

Traffic will be impacted for more than a year at that intersection, according to Kenny Construction. Northbound traffic on First Avenue will be reduced to a single lane just north of Forest Avenue.

On westbound Forest Avenue, it appears the right-turn lane will be closed to traffic. Kenny Construction indicated that no work will begin until it receives permits from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Beginning in June, work will proceed east on Forest Avenue, resulting in new traffic patterns, lane closures and detours. Unlike the rest of the project, Kenny Construction will use a different method to rehabilitate the sewer pipe along Forest Avenue and Riverside Road in Riverside.

There, personnel will enter the sewer pipe to spray on a geopolymer lining to the inside. Trucks the size of semi-tractor trailers carrying specialized equipment will be deployed in the area where work is taking place and will remain in place for a week while work is being completed.

Work hours will be between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., according to Kenny Construction. Overtime and Saturday work are possible. Work on the pipe in Riverside between First Avenue and Miller Road is expected to take 12 months.

In Brookfield, work is expected to begin this spring on a roughly north-south section of the pipe which extends south from 31st Street along the east side of Prairie Avenue and then east into the zoo property before heading back south on Arden Avenue to Patricia Drive.

Because the pipe is smaller, it’s anticipated that access shafts won’t be constructed in order to insert flexible tubing into the pipe. However, there may be traffic disruptions in residential portions of the project area.

The section of Ridgewood Road/Washington Avenue between First Avenue and Arden Avenue will be completed during the summer of 2017 to avoid disrupting traffic during the school year, according to Scalise.

In addition, work on the section of sewer that runs beneath Brookfield Zoo won’t begin until October 2016 and will wrap up by March, according to Sondra Katzen, media relations manager for the Chicago Zoological Society.

Work will also be suspended during Holiday Magic, Katzen said.

“It shouldn’t affect the guest experience,” Katzen said.

Other short sections of pipe that will be rehabilitated between April 2016 and October 2017 include: in Brookfield, Brookfield Avenue between Arden and Forest avenues; and in North Riverside, 26th Street, between First and Desplaines avenues.

According to Allison Fore, public and intergovernmental affairs officer for the MWRD, construction on Salt Creek Intercepting Sewer No. 2 began in 1927 to serve Lyons and Proviso townships.

Pipes along the 32,800-foot sewer line range in diameter from 10 inches to 7 feet. 

“Until now, the almost 90-year-old sewer has not required any major rehabilitation,” Fore said.

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