Brookfield residents still recovering from street closures due to the 18-month long Brookfield Avenue bridge construction project will get to experience a just-as-disruptive construction project in the village’s downtown later this summer.

Local officials say the street closures and detours won’t last nearly as long – about a month – but they’re necessary to make water main improvements just north of the Prairie Avenue grade crossing, where the street intersects with Grand Boulevard, Brookfield Avenue and Fairview Avenue.

The project will likely break ground in August and construction will last through October. While the timing is still unknown, there will be a four-week period during which the Prairie Avenue grade crossing will be closed to traffic as will the entire Grand/Prairie/Brookfield/Fairview intersection.

“As we design the project, we will meet with staff to pick a four-week period sometime between early August through the end of October that will have the least interruption to the businesses and any planned events,” said Village Engineer Derek Treichel.

“Exact locations of closures will be determined during the design. I think on Grand, Prairie, Brookfield and Fairview, the closures will be either at the brick paver crosswalks or within 50 feet of the brick paver crosswalks.”

The Brookfield Village Board is expected to approve adding the project to the list of water main improvements already approved in 2023. The estimated cost of the work, including the design engineering and resurfacing the impacted intersection, is $606,400.

Treichel said the plan is to finalize the design by May, put the work out to bid in June and award a construction contract in July.

Waiting until August to begin the work will avoid construction impact on the July 4 parade and the daylong Intelligentsia Cup criterium bicycle race scheduled to be held in the downtown on July 26.

While the village is planning to host Music on Grand this summer, Village Manager Timothy Wiberg said the work should not really impact that event in August or September.

“The main work will certainly impact all traffic in that area for a month or so, [but] it shouldn’t necessarily directly impact the concerts as the stage and closure of Grand occur north of where the main work will occur,” Wiberg said.

At the village board’s committee of the whole meeting on March 13, Treichel explained that the water main issue in and around the Prairie Avenue grade crossing had its origins in the January 2018 failure of a 6-inch Prairie Avenue water main that crossed under the BNSF tracks.

The leak was immediately below the rail line and BNSF would not allow any excavation near the tracks due to concerns about track destabilization. The quick fix was to cut the main and cap it south of the tracks.

North of the tracks, workers shut down seven water valves to stop the flow of water through the 6-inch main under the tracks. Treichel said engineers determined the 6-inch main was not needed since water could flow from north to south under the tracks through 12-inch mains at four other locations.

While shutting off the valves north of the tracks still allowed water to flow in that area, it diminished the flow in some areas. So, last fall the village hired a contractor to cut and cap the 6-inch Prairie Avenue water main north of the tracks and reopen the valves.

However, when they reopened the valves, it resulted in a leak under the tracks. Treichel said the village’s water main atlas doesn’t show another pipe under the tracks, so they don’t know the source of that leak.

Treichel added that the water mains north of the tracks appear to have been installed through the years in a piecemeal fashion and that they weren’t connected in a logical way. He also feared there may be other long-forgotten and unmapped water mains and cross connections.

As a result, Treichel recommended relocating water main connections north of the tracks so future maintenance can be done without closing down the intersection. In addition, he recommended replacing sections of the water mains that run under Grand Boulevard and Prairie Avenue.