As a Cherry Creek flood control project begins, Governors Highway will be closed to through traffic between Flossmoor Road and 183rd Street.
John Brunke, Flossmoor’s public works director, said Thursday that the road closure starts June 12 and will last about two months.
Local traffic will be allowed on most of Governors Highway, a state road, while crews install two large culverts near Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s North Building. However, the road will need to be completely rebuilt where the culverts are being installed.
Flossmoor is partnering on the project with H-F School District 233 and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), which is the lead agency and is funding the work. An MWRD engineer said last year that the project is expected to cost about $4.1 million.
When the work is completed, culverts on H-F property and along Governors Highway will be enlarged and better able to handle Cherry Creek stormwater.
Brunke said the culverts now in place can’t handle stormwater and flooding has been a problem on H-F land – and at neighboring homes – for years.
The east branch of Cherry Creek currently heads east from H-F’s biopond in an 18-inch underground pipe. That pipe is being replaced by a 48-inch culvert running toward Governors Highway.
The two box culverts installed at Governors Highway will act as bridges over Cherry Creek, which winds between the east and west side of the road. The culverts will be constructed of pre-cast concrete. The larger of the two culverts will be four feet high and 12 feet across, Brunke said.
A section of Braemar Road, a residential street just east of Governors Highway, will also be closed during construction. Another box culvert is being built along Braemar near Wallace Drive.
During the project, a retention pond behind Calvary Church will also be enlarged. A number of trees will be removed, mostly on H-F property. Brunke said tree removal, the first phase of the project, begins June 8.
Brunke said MWRD agreed to not begin the project until graduation ceremonies at the high school were completed. Local grade schools, as well as H-F, use the campus for graduation and the last ceremony will take place June 7.
At least one of the two high school entrances onto Governors Highway will always be open during construction, Brunke said.
“There will still be a lot of activity at the school this summer,” he said.
Residents living near the construction area are being informed this week about the road closure, and the rest of the project, he said.
Currently, 16 Flossmoor homes near Cherry Creek are located on a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain map. As a result, those homeowners are required to buy flood insurance, which can be very costly.
Flossmoor officials insisted that a change in status on the federal floodplain map was a necessary part of the Cherry Creek project. After the project is completed MWRD will ask federal authorities for a change in the floodplain map so that homeowners are no longer required to buy insurance.