Part two of flood solution for Libertyville's Highlands neighborhood set to begin
Over the years, the Highlands hasn't been the most fitting name for one Libertyville neighborhood where some residents shudder when heavy rains are predicted.
But with an enormous basin to hold stormwater complete, the next step to control flooding on streets and in yards and homes south of Route 176 between Butterfield Road and Garfield Avenue is about to start.
Larger storm sewers will be installed on 11 neighborhood streets beginning on or about April 3. The $8.9 million project will funnel stormwater to a newly built storage area in Nicholas Dowden Park south of Crane Boulevard.
"It's a big one," said Village Engineer Jeff Cooper. "This one was definitely Number 1 on everyone's list because it has the most homes impacted."
The Highland subdivision is on the south end of town and consists of 550 acres. The two projects planned in tandem are expected to solve issues for more than 300 properties and 155 homes that have been subject to flooding over the years.
Larger storm sewers will be installed along Drake, Dawes, Carter, Burdick, Ames and Ash streets, Rockland and Dymond roads, Harris and Austin avenues and Shari Lane.
An open house on the work will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at village hall, 118 W. Cook Ave.
"We want to update them on what to expect," Cooper said.
Last summer, the entire section of Nicholas Dowden Park south of Crane Boulevard was excavated to a depth of 6 to 9 feet to create a basin to hold the equivalent of 38½ acres of stormwater 1 foot deep.
Grading and utility work on the $6.41 million project is complete. A new storage building and batting cages will be built this spring. Four ball fields also are being replaced but will be idle this year to let new grass take hold.
Street and sometimes structure flooding is common in the Highlands during heavy rain because existing storm sewers can't keep up and there hasn't been anywhere 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. The plan has since been finalized and a fee enacted to fund projects.
In the Highlands, new larger storm sewers will be installed in the right of way of neighborhood streets. The diameter will increase as they approach the park and tie into a massive pipe -- almost 7 feet wide and 4½ feet tall -- that will discharge into the basin.
"This is putting in bigger pipes to feed the project we're completing in the park," Cooper said. "The pipes are so big it will cause us to close roads and even reconstruct roads," he added.
About three-quarters of the existing storm sewers will not be relied on for the function of the overall system, but they will still work and be left in place. Storm sewer installation and road paving are expected to be complete by November.
Libertyville will apply more than $7.64 million in grants to the two Highland subdivision projects as well as the final phase of storm sewer improvements in the Rockland Road area east of Milwaukee Avenue.