North Main Street project will reduce flooding when completed in October

WHEATON – The construction project to alleviate flooding problems from Winfield Creek on North Main Street is on schedule to be completed in late October, according to a city official.

Despite recent rains briefly holding up construction, there haven't been any major delays on the project and it is on track to remain within its $2 million budget, said Senior Project Engineer Sarang Lagvankar. According to Lagvankar, the Main Street project was prioritized because of the area's high volume of traffic.

"It's a unique area in the sense that North Main Street carries a lot of local traffic and a lot of through traffic," he said. "It's a business corridor, of course, and also one of the most inherent areas that floods."

According to the city website, the project will replace culverts – large sewer drains that run underneath roads or through terrain – with a full bridge and widen the creek channel. This process will allow more stormwater to flow through the area, reducing water levels during small to mid-level floods.

However, Lagvankar warns that the project won't fix flooding in the area completely. A massive storm such as those that struck last April would still leave the roadway underwater.

"It's designed to help with a certain intensity of flooding," he said. "If Winfield Creek floods ten times in a year, the new construction will reduce the amount to something like five or six times a year. Regardless of construction, we will have some bigger storms."

The alterations will not have an effect on flooding downstream onto the property of residents, Lagvankar said. The project was done in conjunction with a Wheaton Park District project to optimize its own storm system in Northside Park, the wetlands and Lincoln Marsh.

All excess water created by the Main Street project will be absorbed by park district property such as the wetlands, as has been indicated by several studies, models and calculations conducted in recent years.

Lagvankar said that the city hoped to execute the project last year during the drought conditions, but still had several permitting issues to resolve. Now, the city is working to ensure that the area isn't closed off for too long.

"We're impacting businesses in the area," he said. "We want to be in and out in a timely fashion."