A roughly $2.5 million project to alleviate flooding on North Main Street in Wheaton finally will begin this spring after nearly a yearlong delay.
The much-anticipated project originally was scheduled to begin in spring 2012, but delays in reaching agreements with area property owners stalled construction.
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"Unfortunately, we did not receive a great deal of cooperation from a couple of the property owners up there with regard to temporary construction easements that have delayed the project," City Manager Don Rose said.
The city council this week approved a $1.86 million contract with Copenhaver Construction Inc. of Gilberts, including an $86,274 change order to the company's previous bid from March 2012 because of increases in labor and steel material costs since then, officials say. The council also passed an amendment to a 2010 engineering services agreement with Rosemont-based Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd. to add construction engineering services at a cost of $237,478.
The city has received a $400,000 grant from DuPage County and a pair of grants from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity totaling another $400,000 for the project.
Councilman Phil Suess touted the benefits to businesses.
"This is a very significant investment by the city, and it solves a problem," Suess said. "This will solve, with a very high probability, the flooding on North Main Street. I can't think of a better investment the city can make for the betterment of North Main Street than fixing the flooding."
Construction is expected to run from May to October on an area of North Main Street just south of Cole Avenue. Crews will widen Winfield Creek and remove existing pipe culverts and replace them with a new bridge. The larger opening is designed to allow more water to flow under Main Street.
Director of Engineering Paul Redman called the project the "meat and bones" of flood protection for North Main Street after the park district's stormwater improvements at Northside Park. Those upgrades allow more flood water to pass into the park, Redman said.
Southbound lanes on North Main Street will close for the duration of the project, with traffic directed to Gary Avenue. The city will maintain northbound traffic on the major artery into downtown.
Redman said the city will work with the park district about the route for the July 4 parade, which typically steps off on North Main Street. The district also has traditionally staged the parade south of the creek.
Flooding usually swamps the street once or twice a year, officials say.
"It still will flood, but it will flood for the more extreme events rather than some of the lesser events that it has flooded before," Redman said.