Help on way for Libertvyville's flood-prone Highlands subdivision

  • Heavy flooding at the intersection of Crane Boulevard and Dawes Road in the Highlands subdivision in Libertyville forced several residents out of their homes during a historic storm in 2017. Engineering for a flood reduction project in the area is expected to receive village approval Tuesday.

      Heavy flooding at the intersection of Crane Boulevard and Dawes Road in the Highlands subdivision in Libertyville forced several residents out of their homes during a historic storm in 2017. Engineering for a flood reduction project in the area is expected to receive village approval Tuesday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 
Updated 6/22/2020 5:52 PM

Despite disruptions caused by the coronavirus, flood relief projects in Libertyville continue to advance.

On Tuesday, the village board will consider a contract for $819,218 with Christopher B. Burke Engineering Ltd., for work associated with the flood-prone Highlands subdivision.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The work would include analysis of a previously recommended project to possibly increase benefits at minimal costs; preparation of drawings, specifications and a cost estimate; securing permits; and assisting with the construction bidding process.

The Highland subdivision on the south end of town consists of 550 acres on Ames, Burdick, Carter, Dawes and Drake streets, Crane Boulevard, Rockland Road and Garfield Avenue.

Chronic street flooding and sometimes structure flooding is common in the area during heavy rain because existing storm sewers can't keep up and there is nowhere to store the water until it can be dispersed.

The situation became extreme in July 2017 when hundreds of homes were flooded after a historic rain. At the time, village officials had just begun discussing a master stormwater management plan.

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That plan, adopted in May 2019, identified $45.5 million in flood reduction projects throughout the village, including the Highlands area.

As envisioned, the project would include installing a larger storm sewer system, creating a detention area on a portion of Nicholas Dowden Park and possibly flood-proofing measures for some of the most affected homes and properties.

Approval is expected Tuesday, as village officials have said they want to get the Highlands and Rockland Road corridor flood reduction projects ready for construction despite the current lack of a dedicated funding source.

Two weeks ago, the village board approved an agreement with Civiltech Engineering Inc., for $145,166 to complete the Rockland Road project.

Flood control measures were done in tandem with the reconstruction of Rockland west of Milwaukee Avenue to the Des Plaines River, which is in its second construction season.

New sewers from 36 to 84 inches in diameter have been installed to carry stormwater, with stubs for connections to the main sewer line. The last part of the project would connect sewers on four area streets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

To pay for the projects, the village plans to raise about $1.3 million per year by creating a stormwater fee.

Discussions on the amount and structure of the fees are expected to begin in mid-July.

Village officials have said they would like the fee to be implemented early next year, but no date has been set because of uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, the agreement with Christopher B. Burke for the Highlands has been modified so that expenditures don't exceed $200,000 for the current fiscal year, which ends April 30.

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