Crusader staff report
The barriers are down and the water is gone. The underpass at Marquette Drive and Lake Shore Drive, long flooded from heavy downpours, is clear for joggers and bicyclists to use again.
Workers from the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) in the last several weeks drained the underpass with a temporary pump and hoses that dumped the water on the east side of the Jackson Park Harbor. With several days of rain, the effort was an uphill battle as downpour in recent weeks flooded the underpass as workers were trying to clear it.
The temporary pump survived its first big test after Wednesday’s downpours which left some neighborhoods flooded. During a trip to the underpass later that day, a Crusader reporter saw that the underpass at Marquette Drive was still clear.
The news came after the Crusader published a story on June 8 about the underpass, which for at least four years has been flooded after heavy downpours, preventing pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists from using it to get to the other side. Despite complaints, the underpass, which opened in 2004 had been neglected and unusable for years, especially during the spring and summer after heavy downpours. The water had been as deep as two inches. After the Crusader called CDOT about the underpass, barricades were placed in front of the entrances on both sides of the tunnel. Now with the water drained, the barriers have been removed to allow pedestrians to pass through the tunnel.
CDOT officials did not say what took officials so long to repair the the flooded underpass, but sources told the Crusader that a pump was not installed when the Illinois Depart- ment of Transportation built the bridge back in 2004.
“The good news is we have installed a temporary pump and it is in operation and is keeping the underpass dry and open to pedestrians at this time.,” said CDOT spokesperson Mike Claffey. “We will keep this temporary pump going until the new pump and controller are received from the manufacturer and can be installed. I don’t have a current estimated completion date, but we hope that the temporary pump will keep the underpass dry and open.
Claffey said he doesn’t have a cost estimate yet for the permanent pump.