A three-year, $44 million project by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to repair the 90-year-old, 6.2-mile long Salt Creek Intercepting Sewer No. 2 is about 99 percent complete and should be completely wrapped up by mid-summer, according to the project’s engineer.

Gone are the roadway barriers and detour signs that had spring up in North Riverside, Riverside and Brookfield since 2016, but some work remains to be done both underground and topside, said Ryan Bright, project engineer from Kenny Construction, which was hired by the MWRD as the general contractor for the work.

During the project, the old sewer pipes – which range in diameter from 10 inches to 7 feet – were impregnated with flexible resin tubes that were cured in place. Apart from the presence of the roadway barriers, which protected sewer access points and served as staging areas, residents in Riverside wouldn’t have known that workers were busy toiling away inside the pipes under Forest Avenue, and Longcommon and Riverside roads.

With the lining in place, Kenny Construction televised the entire length of the sewer to pinpoint any remaining leaks. They have shared that information with MWRD, which will direct Kenny to make additional repairs, if needed.

“With a $50 million project, those punch list items can take a while,” Bright said. “[MWRD] is in the reviewing stage. After that we’ll inspect and patch things accordingly.”

According to Bright, workers installed 5 million pounds of resin liner within the Riverside segment of the project alone.

Until all of the punch list items are completed, Kenny Construction will need to keep the intersection of First and Forest avenues under their control. A pump station located underneath First Avenue at that location needs to stay active as repairs are made.

“Any time we go into the sewer, that’s the furthest upstream area, so we need the pumps to keep it dry,” Bright said.

Kenny Construction will also be responsible for restoring any sections of parkway, sidewalk or roadway that were disturbed by the project. Near First and Forest, the company will restore about 25 sidewalk squares, portions of the curb and the roadway itself.

“It’ll look like a regular road,” Bright said of First Avenue where a drop shaft has been covered by metal plates for the past three years. “There will be a manhole, but everything else is underground and we’ll restore the road totally.”

At that time, the temporary traffic signals will also be removed and the ones installed as part of an intersection improvement project before the sewer work began will go back into service.