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Ruptured Chicago North Side Water Main Points Up Cracks in Older City Infrastructure!

A Giant Sinkhole, filled with 8-foot sections of Chicago City Sidewalk, complete with parking meters, street signs, and street light poles, and a rushing, river-like torrent of water - all in the middle of a major North Side Chicago street.  Very surreal - but very real.  Occurring without warning!

About 1:30 on Tuesday Morning, January 22nd, a 36-inch water main burst beneath Montrose Avenue, at Honore Street, in the East Ravenswood Neighborhood of Chicago, roughly 3/4 mile from our Keller Williams office in Lincoln Square. 

Luckily, no one was hurt, although several basements were flooded and businesses disrupted on both sides of this busy neighborhood artery.  Riders on the platform of the nearby Montrose Station of the Brown Line L watched with amazement as the main was capped and repair work begun early during the morning commute on Tuesday.  Incredibly, water service in the area was not disrupted, as city water service is arranged in a grid pattern, and other water supply mains in the area still functioned normally.

Although the specific point of the breach has not yet been determined, early indications point to a failure in the nearly 100-year-old cast-iron water supply pipe that runs beneath Montrose.  A similar failure occurred in Summer, 2007, on the South Side of Chicago.

City officials estimate that nearly 20% of the 4,300 miles of water main pipes that run beneath Chicago streets are in need of prompt replacement.  Newer iron alloys are far more resistant to the city's seasonal extreme temperatures.   Chicago replaces these aging pipes at the rate of about 40 miles each year.

Often times, seeping or bubbling water in nearby alleys or parkways provides some warning of an impending main breach.  No such warning here!

Much has been written about the problems of older, apparently-ready-to-fail city infrastructure in major Eastern Cities - Boston, New York, Philadelphia.  But the problem also exists here in Chicago as well, as we are sure it exists in older cities and older structures across the U.S.

Please check out our posting today on our Team Blog Center - BlogChicagoHomes.com.  For more on this story, including photo galleries of repair work in progress and relevant videos, check out today's story in The Chicago Tribune.


Comment balloon 1 commentDean Moss • January 23 2008 10:42PM



That is really scary. Sounds like a Discovery Channel special.

Hope all is well.


Tom Braatz

Posted by Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459, Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD! (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago

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