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The Great Chicago Loop Flood - 1992
The Great Chicago Loop Flood - 1992
Published: 2012/05/06
Channel: ChicagoFD1
Lake Shore Drive in Chicago Flooding Due to High Winds
Lake Shore Drive in Chicago Flooding Due to High Winds
Published: 2014/10/31
Channel: newscast
Northern Suburbs Hit Hard By Heavy Rains, Flooding
Northern Suburbs Hit Hard By Heavy Rains, Flooding
Published: 2017/07/12
Channel: CBS Chicago
Engineering Quiz 2 The Chicago Loop Flood 1992
Engineering Quiz 2 The Chicago Loop Flood 1992
Published: 2014/01/30
Channel: Bill Horgan
Heavy Rain Causes Flooding In Northern Suburbs
Heavy Rain Causes Flooding In Northern Suburbs
Published: 2017/07/12
Channel: CBS Chicago
4/13/92 The Great Chicago Flood
4/13/92 The Great Chicago Flood
Published: 2017/04/14
Channel: Radioman911TV
Massive Waves From Lake Michigan Flood Parts Of Chicago!
Massive Waves From Lake Michigan Flood Parts Of Chicago!
Published: 2011/10/20
Channel: NSEnforcer
RAW VIDEO: Downtown Chicago Flood, 25 Years Ago
RAW VIDEO: Downtown Chicago Flood, 25 Years Ago
Published: 2017/04/13
Channel: CBS Chicago
4/13/92 Great Chicago Flood Mutual Aid Response
4/13/92 Great Chicago Flood Mutual Aid Response
Published: 2017/04/09
Channel: Radioman911TV
Flooding in Grayslake Drone Video of Jones Island and Cars in Flood Water
Flooding in Grayslake Drone Video of Jones Island and Cars in Flood Water
Published: 2017/07/13
Channel: Sky's The Limit Dronography
Chicago flooding 6/26/07
Chicago flooding 6/26/07
Published: 2007/06/27
Channel: variablizer
Chicago flood what was she thinking? 4-18-13
Chicago flood what was she thinking? 4-18-13
Published: 2013/04/18
Channel: hurtado198812
Chicago Is Flooding, So Is My Neighborhood
Chicago Is Flooding, So Is My Neighborhood
Published: 2017/07/12
Channel: Pack Ops
The Great Chicago Flood
The Great Chicago Flood
Published: 2013/04/18
Channel: Bradley Spear
Chicago flood 9-13-08 Foster and Avers
Chicago flood 9-13-08 Foster and Avers
Published: 2008/09/14
Channel: Angela Hayes
Chicago flood July 7th 2016
Chicago flood July 7th 2016
Published: 2016/07/08
Channel: jon36m
Thousands of Soccer Fans Seek Shelter From Severe Flooding in Chicago
Thousands of Soccer Fans Seek Shelter From Severe Flooding in Chicago
Published: 2016/06/23
Channel: Inside Edition
Chicago flood sinkhole
Chicago flood sinkhole
Published: 2013/04/21
Channel: FRE$CO 063
Chicago Flood 2013 - Dummies in Deep Water!!!
Chicago Flood 2013 - Dummies in Deep Water!!!
Published: 2013/04/18
Channel: teddybearindustries
Inundacio a Chicago / Flood in Chicago
Inundacio a Chicago / Flood in Chicago
Published: 2008/09/15
Channel: jona cami
The Chicago River has been temporarily re-reversed to alleviate flooding
The Chicago River has been temporarily re-reversed to alleviate flooding
Published: 2013/04/18
Channel: WBEZ
North Branch Chicago River Surge; Albany Park, Chicago April 18th, 2013
North Branch Chicago River Surge; Albany Park, Chicago April 18th, 2013
Published: 2013/04/19
Channel: S. Adam Bernstein
25 Years Ago Today: Great Chicago Flood Paralyzes The Loop
25 Years Ago Today: Great Chicago Flood Paralyzes The Loop
Published: 2017/04/13
Channel: CBS Chicago
Flood Watch In Effect As Rains, Winds Continue To Hit Chicago
Flood Watch In Effect As Rains, Winds Continue To Hit Chicago
Published: 2017/04/30
Channel: CBS Chicago
Driving thru the Chicago flood 2013
Driving thru the Chicago flood 2013
Published: 2013/07/23
Channel: Chicagoland Dirty Delta's
Bad weather in Chicago - Flood
Bad weather in Chicago - Flood
Published: 2013/04/18
Channel: RexEx23
Chicago flood
Chicago flood
Published: 2007/06/27
Channel: offthehook6
The little Chicago Flood
The little Chicago Flood
Published: 2017/04/24
Channel: Cynthia Kramer
Chicago flood
Chicago flood
Published: 2010/07/24
Channel: zipnocker
Chicago Flood And Sinkhole April 18 2013
Chicago Flood And Sinkhole April 18 2013
Published: 2013/04/18
Channel: going4u2
Chicago Flood North Park
Chicago Flood North Park
Published: 2008/09/15
Channel: Jakestir08
NEWS COVERAGE - Flood of 1987 Elmhurst, Addison, Villa Park, Illinois - Salt Creek
NEWS COVERAGE - Flood of 1987 Elmhurst, Addison, Villa Park, Illinois - Salt Creek
Published: 2015/01/20
Channel: Honest Abe
Chicago Flood April 2013: The Des Plaines River
Chicago Flood April 2013: The Des Plaines River
Published: 2013/04/18
Channel: TheRedlineproject
Chicago Flood of 2011
Chicago Flood of 2011
Published: 2011/07/25
Channel: youngmadul
chicago flood of 07
chicago flood of 07
Published: 2007/06/27
Channel: messertimothy
Chicago flood Interstate 90/94
Chicago flood Interstate 90/94
Published: 2013/04/19
Channel: Cesar Perea
Chicago Flood Aftermath
Chicago Flood Aftermath
Published: 2013/04/19
Channel: MrJay4president
Chicago Flood-Scooter Drowns
Chicago Flood-Scooter Drowns
Published: 2013/04/18
Channel: Keepitsimple silva
Flood in CHicago
Flood in CHicago
Published: 2006/09/23
Channel: phre3k187
chicago flood of 2008
chicago flood of 2008
Published: 2008/10/04
Channel: tarasicky
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas flood, Chicago 85
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas flood, Chicago 85
Published: 2016/01/30
Channel: SRV blues
Chicago Flood outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel
Chicago Flood outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel
Published: 2013/04/19
Channel: Brad Gillies
Kid goes biking in Chicago flood 2013
Kid goes biking in Chicago flood 2013
Published: 2013/04/19
Channel: remedyhalo
Bad weather in Chicago - Flood
Bad weather in Chicago - Flood
Published: 2013/04/18
Channel: RexEx23
Trucks wading flood on I55 in Chicago, 6/23/2010
Trucks wading flood on I55 in Chicago, 6/23/2010
Published: 2010/06/24
Channel: kravage
Chicago flood
Chicago flood
Published: 2013/04/19
Channel: Loving living losing
Floods Destroy New Cars At Dealership
Floods Destroy New Cars At Dealership
Published: 2017/07/13
Channel: CBS Chicago
From Fresno to Chicago — Lance Canales & The Flood, and "Deportee"
From Fresno to Chicago — Lance Canales & The Flood, and "Deportee"
Published: 2014/03/26
Channel: El Béisman FILMs
Massive Chicago Flood June 21, 2011
Massive Chicago Flood June 21, 2011
Published: 2011/06/22
Channel: MatthewTrash
Flood in Albany Park Chicago 2013 - 시카고 알바니팍 지역 홍수
Flood in Albany Park Chicago 2013 - 시카고 알바니팍 지역 홍수
Published: 2013/04/20
Channel: News Magazine Chicago
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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The Chicago flood occurred on April 13, 1992, when the damaged wall of a utility tunnel beneath the Chicago River opened into a breach which flooded basements and underground facilities throughout the Chicago Loop with an estimated 250 million US gallons (1,000,000 m3) of water.[1]

Cause[edit]

Kinzie Street Bridge

Rehabilitation work on the Kinzie Street Bridge crossing the Chicago River required new pilings. However, when the City of Chicago specified that the old pilings be extracted and replaced by the new ones, the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company reported back that the old pilings were too close to the bridge tender's house, preventing proper removal without the risk of damaging or destroying the house. The City of Chicago then gave permission to install the new pilings 3.5 feet south of the old pilings. Unbeknownst to the crewmembers that began work at the site, beneath the river was an abandoned Chicago Tunnel Company tunnel that had been used in the early 20th century to transport coal and goods. One of the pilings on the east bank was driven into the bottom of the river alongside the north wall of the old tunnel. Although the pilings did not actually punch through the tunnel wall, the clay soil that was displaced by the piling eventually breached the wall, allowing sediment and water to seep into the tunnel. After some weeks, most of the clay between the water and the breach had liquefied which rapidly increased the rate of flooding in the tunnel. The situation became very serious because the flood doors had been removed from the old tunnels after they fell into disuse.

Discovery of the leak[edit]

A telecommunications worker inspecting a cable running through the tunnel discovered the leak while it was still passing mud and forwarded a videotape to the city, which did not see anything serious and began a bid process to repair the tunnel. The CTC tunnels were never formally a public responsibility, as most of them had been dug clandestinely, many violated private property[citation needed], and the collapse of the operator had failed to resolve ownership and maintenance responsibilities. Meanwhile, the mud continued to push through until the river water was able to pour in unabated, creating an immediate emergency.

Effects[edit]

The water flooded into the basements of several Loop office buildings and retail stores and an underground shopping district. The city quickly evacuated the Loop and financial district in fear that electrical wires could short out. Electrical power and natural gas went down or were shut off as a precaution in much of the area. Trading at both the Chicago Board of Trade Building and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ended in mid-morning, having a global effect, as water seeped into their basements. At its height, some buildings had 40 feet (12 m) of water in their lower levels. However, at the street level there was no water to be seen, as it was all underground.

At first, the source of the water was unclear. WMAQ radio reporter Larry Langford reported that city crews were in the process of shutting down large water mains to see if the water flow could be stopped.

Langford was monitoring police scanners and overheard security crews from Chicago's Merchandise Mart report that they had several feet of water in the basement and were seeing fish in the water that was in the basements. Langford drove to the Merchandise Mart, which is located near the Kinzie Street Bridge, and reported on WMAQ that he saw water swirling near a piling in a manner that resembled water going down the drain of a bathtub. The swirl had a generous amount of small debris spinning in it. His exact words on WMAQ were:

"I have found something very interesting in the Chicago River on the east side of the Kinzie Bridge. I see swirling water that looks like a giant drain ... I would say it looks like the source of the water could be the river itself, and I am hearing reports that fish are swimming in the basement of the Mart just feet from the swirl! I do not see any emergency crews near this spinning swirl, but I think they may want to take a look. In fact, I think someone should wake up the mayor!"

Within minutes of that report hitting the airwaves, a battery of city trucks, police, and fire vehicles converged on the bridge.

Repair and cleanup[edit]

Workers attempted to plug the hole, by then about 20 feet (6.1 m) wide, with 65 truckloads of rocks, cement and old mattresses.[citation needed] In an attempt to slow the leak, the level of the Chicago River was lowered by opening the locks downstream of Chicago,[citation needed] and the freight tunnels were drained into the Chicago Deep Tunnel system. The leak was eventually stopped by placing a specialized concrete mixture supplied by Material Service Corporation (MSC) and placed by Kenny Construction. The concrete was designed by Brian Rice of MSC and was to set up so quickly that the concrete delivery trucks were provided police escorts. The concrete was placed into drilled shafts into the flooded tunnel near Kinzie Street and formed emergency plugs.

Aftermath[edit]

It took three days before the flood was cleaned up enough to allow business to begin to resume and cost the city an estimated $1.95 billion. Some buildings remained closed for a few weeks. Parking was banned downtown during the cleanup and some subway routes were temporarily closed or rerouted. Since it occurred near Tax Day, the IRS granted natural disaster extensions to those affected.

Eventually, the city assumed maintenance responsibility for the tunnels, and watertight hatches were installed at the river crossings. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. sued the City of Chicago arguing that the city had failed to tell it about the existence of the tunnels.[2]

Insurance battles lasted for years, the central point being the definition of the accident, i.e., whether it was a "flood" or a "leak." Leaks were covered by insurance, while floods were not. Eventually it was classified as a leak, which is why many residents still call it the "Great Chicago Leak."[3]

Today, there remains contention as to whether the mistake was the fault of the workers on-site, their parent company, or even the claim that maps provided by the city of Chicago failed to accurately depict the old tunnel systems. In fact, the Kinzie Street river crossing was clearly delineated on the city maps: the typical tunnel ran down the center of the old streets. At Kinzie Street, like some of the other river crossings, it veered off to the side as the historic Kinzie bridge (at the time of the tunnel construction) was a pivoting bridge with a central pivot in the middle of the street. Thus the original tunnels were moved to the side, as were several other bridges across the Chicago River - shown in detail on the city maps.[citation needed]

Court cases[edit]

In the lawsuits that followed Great Lakes was initially found liable but was later cleared after it was revealed that the city was aware the tunnel was leaking before the flood and the city had also not properly maintained the tunnel.[4][5]

In addition the case went to the United States Supreme Court in Jerome B. Grubart, Inc. v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. - 513 U.S. 527 (1994) which ruled that since the work was being done by a vessel in navigable waters of the Chicago River, Admiralty law applied and Great Lakes's liability was greatly limited.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1992 Loop Flood Brings Chaos, Billions In Losses". CBS2 Chicago. 2007-04-14. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  2. ^ "Company Blamed for Flood Files a Suit Faulting Chicago," Wall Street Journal, October 11, 1992, at 34, col. 3.
  3. ^ "The Mix". Chicago Sun Times. October 9, 1992. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/great-lakes-dredge-dock-company-history/
  5. ^ Miller, James P (2007-01-21). "Great Lakes' IPO dredges up past attempt". Chicago Tribune. 
  6. ^ https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/513/527/case.html

Coordinates: 41°53′N 87°38′W / 41.88°N 87.63°W / 41.88; -87.63

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