MWRD, officials announce secured funding for Albany Park Stormwater Tunnel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Mike Quigley, 39th Ward Alderman Margaret Laurino, and officials from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District announced that the city of Chicago has secured the remaining funds needed to build the Albany Park Stormwater Diversion Tunnel.
Feb. 18, 2015 -- As of recently, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Mike Quigley, 39th Ward Alderman Margaret Laurino, and officials from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MRWD) announced that the city of Chicago has secured the remaining funds needed to build the Albany Park Stormwater Diversion Tunnel, through a federal Community Development Block Grant. The mile-long tunnel will divert stormwater from the North Branch of the Chicago River, reducing the danger of floods that have plagued the northwest side neighborhood in recent years.
Since 2008, Albany Park has experienced two major floods that have affected hundreds of homes in the northwest side community. After the last round of serious flooding in April 2013, Emanuel pledged to work with MWRD to address the problem and also directed the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to move forward with design and engineering of the drainage tunnel.
Emanuel also announced that an additional $10 million is available to help residents who suffered damage from the April 2013 flood. Likewise, residents will be able to apply for funds later this year to be compensated for unreimbursed costs associated with flood damage. CDOT will also seek bids on the project this spring. Construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed in less than two years.
The diversion tunnel will start in Eugene Park and extend for approximately one mile under Foster Avenue to the North Shore Channel. Further, it will divert water during times of heavy rains and will not affect the river's water level in normal times. The tunnel is expected to cost between $45 and $55 million, with the final cost determination to be made at the conclusion of the design phase. The City of Chicago and MWRD have already committed $40 million to the project, and the new federal Block Grant will complete the funding.
"Flooding is the No. 1 concern for citizens in Cook County. Through public partnerships like this one, we can work together to solve these problems for our communities," said MWRD President Mariyana Spyropoulos. "Mayor Emanuel shares these concerns regarding flooding and provides a great example of the kind of leadership we need to address this critical issue. The District will continue working to build a resilient Chicago that can withstand the new weather patterns we are experiencing today."