Palatine looking for fix to flooding at downtown intersection

Palatine is hiring an Arlington Heights engineering firm to look for a solution to persistent flooding at Smith and Colfax streets in the village's downtown.

The village council Monday approved a contract not to exceed $355,000 with Peralte-Clark LLC for preliminary engineering services, using dollars from the downtown tax increment financing district. The project is one of the reasons the village extended the TIF district in 2021.

"This is something that's been discussed forever," Mayor Jim Schwantz said. "This intersection has flooded for 30 years. It's a public safety issue. We can't get fire trucks, we can't get emergency vehicles through that intersection when there's a rain event."

Public Works Director Matt Barry said a 2015 study indicated the preferred solution would involve putting in a new storm sewer along Colfax that would cross the railroad tracks, continue along Wood Street and then discharge into the Margreth Riemer Reservoir.

However, the plan ultimately was not pursued because the cost far exceeded the village's budget at that tine for drainage improvements.

Barry said Peralte-Clark's upcoming work would include identifying utilities between the two basins of the reservoir and seeing what can be relocated. It would also identify what pump station improvements would be necessary.

The village would like the preliminary engineering work to take place this year, followed by detailed engineering in 2024 and construction as early as 2025.

Barry said the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, which owns the reservoir near Palatine and Quentin roads, has been cooperative.

"I think they are seeing this as a partnership opportunity for the district and the village, and so we are going to keep the foot on the gas to get this to construction as soon as possible," he said.

"This project is probably the most significant thing we could do to our entire water management system to improve our situation today," added village council member Scott Lamerand.

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