Des Plaines updates residents on flooding
Des Plaines leaders held a meeting at city hall Sunday morning to give residents a status update on the flood and when the cleanup will start.
Elsewhere in the Northwest suburbs and Lake County, many towns were reopening roads, but some were slower to recover from Thursday's storm.
Des Plaines City Manager Mike Bartholomew said the earliest the city is going to start opening roads is Tuesday.
As of 7:45 a.m., he said, the water level had receded to 10.19 feet.
"We're really looking for the water to go down to about eight feet," he said, adding the warning that despite the fact that water is going down, "it's still going to take us a half a day or more to clean the road, to inspect the road, to make sure it's still safe for travel after the water recedes."
Jon Duddles, assistant director of public works and engineering, said the city has set up a plan with refuse collector ARC Disposal that calls for collection on a regular day.
"We will be going most likely six days a week. So we will supplement ARC's removal with subcontractors that we will be using," Duddles said. He said sandbags should be separate from flood debris. Yard waste collection is suspended until further notice.
Asked about pumping at Shagbark Lake, Duddles said, "Once we see the level get down where we can actually get equipment in there ... we'll mobilize that pump to Shagbark Lake to pump over the barrier between Shagbark Lake and the river to dewater that area."
He said that should be expected late Monday into Tuesday.
Officials showed a video taken from a helicopter Saturday, giving the audience a bird's-eye view of the situation.
Walsten noted during the viewing that "the fire station did a great job of saving Fire Station No. 1 with multiple pumps and multiple man-hours."
Walsten praised the city's efforts in general.
"By and large, with this catastrophe, I think the city has done a fantastic job," he said. "Staff has been up countless hours. We're doing the best we can — and I think we're doing a good job. This is the flood of history that we are witnessing right now."
But not everyone who attended the meeting was thrilled with the city's response.
Sam and Chris Depasquale, who live on Campbell Street, said the city failed to provide them with up-to-date information.
"We are currently in the river," Chris Depasquale said. "The back of our house is in the river."
She said that on Thursday morning, the city website still had information predicting 6 feet of water.
"We never saw a single city worker. Not our alderman. Not any sandbag," she said. "Not even anybody coming down to ask us if we needed any help, and this consistently happens to those of us on Campbell."
Sam Depasquale said emergency management was not available at 9 a.m. Thursday for phone calls.
"It wasn't until Big Bend went under that we basically even heard that we were at risk at any point," Chris Depasquale said.
First Ward Alderman Patricia Haugeberg attended the meeting wearing waders. She said her condo building on Mill Street is still immersed in floodwater.
"It's our entire first level. Elevator pit. Electrical room. Garages. And it is the nastiest water," she said. "It is going down. Not as quickly as I would like it to."
Haugeberg warned those who might be tempted to wander into the area.
"This is not a tourist event," she said. "The last thing that my residents need are parades of people coming in to look around while they are trying to deal with losing their entire
Elsewhere in the suburbs, Grand Avenue, Kilbourne Road and Old Grand Avenue were still closed in Gurnee Sunday afternoon, but most lanes of Route 41 were open to traffic, according to police. Both southbound lanes and one northbound lane were open for drivers. Many people were still unable to return to their homes Sunday along the roads hardest hit by flooding of the Des Plaines River, police said.
In Wheeling, the major streets had been reopened by Sunday afternoon. Wheeling Road, Milwaukee Avenue and Wolf Road were passable, but police said Highland Avenue, which is off Wolf Road, remained closed because of flooding from the Des Plaines River.
Residents at the Fox Point mobile home park in Wheeling were still in evacuation mode this weekend. Many of them sought out temporary shelter at the Wheeling Park District Recreation Center. Police said that was still operating Sunday, but park district representatives with information about the shelter could not be reached.
• Daily Herald staff writers Tara Garcia Mathewson and Melissa Silverberg contributed to this report.
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