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Upcoming Water Main Project Will Close Ridge Ave. For Weeks Starting This Month

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Photo credit: José M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune

Edgewater has been taken over by multiple water main improvement projects that started earlier this year. These improvements are expected to help reduce flooding in adjacent properties and prevent the need for additional sewer infrastructure.

The city’s Capital Improvement Program and the Department of Water Management are now preparing for the water main installation on Ridge Avenue. This will close traffic on Ridge from Clark Street to Broadway Avenue.

The Ridge Avenue project is expected to begin on or around Wednesday, June 22. The contractor of the work, Joel Kennedy Constructing Corp., is expecting the work to take as long as five to six weeks. Work will occur on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with some weekend work expected. 

With the major Lake Shore Drive artery closed, traffic through Edgewater is likely to be challenging. 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman said in a statement, “This is going to be a very difficult undertaking for our community, but we will work through the challenges together.”

According to the Alderman, road restrictions are as follows:

  • Ridge will be closed from Clark to Broadway, with no westbound traffic permitted.
  • One eastbound lane will remain open, but only for emergency vehicles, eastbound CTA buses and work trucks related to the project.
  • Numerous detour and alternate traffic route signs will be posted on streets surrounding the project to direct vehicles to their destinations without using the 48th Ward community as a cut-through.
  • All westbound CTA buses will be detoured from the CTA station on Bryn Mawr to Broadway, south on Broadway to Foster, west on Foster to Ashland, north on Ashland to Peterson, then west to continue on their usual routes. 

In order to supply up-to-date information about the project, there will be two community meetings for local residents and businesses. Those will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, and at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood Ave.

The Edgewater projects are part of a 10-year capital program the city’s Department of Water Management launched in 2012 to renew Chicago’s water infrastructure.

According to the City of Chicago’s 2016 Budget Overview, Chicago’s water and sewer system pipes are an average of about 85 years old. More than 2,500 miles of the system have been in place for 100 years, at least.

The project targets 880 miles of aging water mains for replacement, more than 250 miles of sewer mains for replacement and 490 miles of sewer mains for lining. The city aims to help conserve Lake Michigan’s water and protect water quality, decrease basement flooding risks by enlarging sewer mains, and reduce disruptions to the public from unplanned water and sewer main repairs.

This year, the Department of Water Management will continue to upgrade the water system by replacing and installing 90 miles of new water mains and 22 miles of new sewer mains. It will also line 53 miles of old sewers to extend their working life, the city’s budget overview said.


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