Sewer project to begin


A project to install a sewer in Lavergne Avenue between Lawrence Avenue and Montrose Avenue will require digging under the Kennedy Expressway and will last about 15 months.

City Department of Water Management spokesman Gary Litherland said that the project to install 2,670 feet of new sewers, is scheduled to start by early fall and to be completed in December of 2015, weather permitting. Litherland said that the project will improve drainage in the area and help reduce flooding during heavy rains.

Crews will tunnel under the Kennedy Expressway in order to connect to sewers to the south. Eastbound Lawrence will be closed for part of the project to allow the installation of a drop shaft on Lawrence that will go down about 230 feet and connect to a Deep Tunnel feeder tunnel, according to Alderman John Arena (45th). It was originally anticipated that the depth of the tunnel would be 270 feet.

"To dig the shaft, crews will use traditional digging equipment to go about 65 feet down," Arena wrote in his Aug. 1 newsletter. "Once they hit bedrock, they will use controlled charges to dig the remaining 200 feet. Every safety precaution will be taken."

Arena and the department held a community meeting on the project on Aug. 11. A parking lot at Milwaukee and Wilson avenues is being used as a staging area for the equipment and trucks required for the project, Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said.

Brugh said that the project will cost $20 million and that parking restrictions will be in place on Lawrence Avenue at Lavergne near where the shaft will be dug. Parking will be prohibited on Lawrence 100 feet east and west of Lavergne and on Lavergne from Lawrence south to the alley near Thuis Park.

The project will begin after Labor Day and will continue through December of 2015, Brugh said. He said that the drop shaft will be 18 feet wide for the first 50 or 60 feet until the bedrock and then 13 feet wide where explosives will be used to complete the shaft.

Brugh said that eastbound lanes on Lawrence will be closed from September through November. He said that only local traffic will be allowed on Lawrence between Milwaukee Avenue and Cicero Avenue and that traffic will be detoured along Montrose.