Borman Expy. shut down for fourth day

Some area expressways, roads still closed
September 17, 2008 4:29:44 PM PDT
Getting around the Chicago area is not easy in some spots because of flooding.It's been four days since major flooding forced the closure of a major expressway in northwest Indiana.

No traffic has been allowed on the Borman since Sunday. Officials hope to have the waterlogged highway back open Thursday but say it might be the end of the week before cars instead of water flow on the roadway once again.

Pumps are working around the clock to remove the water from the highway. Interstate 80-94 is flooded in three locations: at Kennedy Avenue, at Grant Street and at the I-65 Interchange.

The worst section of flooding on the Borman Expressway was at Kennedy Avenue. On Monday, the water was 12 feet deep. On Wednesday, it was down to about two or three feet, but it was still too deep and dangerous for traffic.

Four days after the record rainfall, parts of the Borman Expressway still look more suitable for boat travel or fish than cars. It remained closed to motorists because of three areas where floodwaters have spilled over levees bordering the Little Calumet River.

Workers were busy adding sandbags, and pumps were going around the clock.

Further west near Chase and Grant streets, the Indiana Department of Transportation says there is a 40-foot gap in the levee, making room for Chase Street to cross the river. It is Gary's responsibility to close the road and sandbag it, in order to prevent flooding. But a spokesperson for INDOT said that didn't happen until Monday, and even then, it was done by the state, not Gary.

"There may have been a communication error with everything going on, something that they maybe didn't remember they were in charge of doing," said Angie Fegaras, INDOT spokesperson.

But by far, the worst flooding is near Kennedy Avenue in the Highland-Hammond area. One-hundred eighty thousand motorists travel the Borman every day.

"Somebody didn't know what they were doing. That's the way I look at it. Somebody didn't calculate or something. We had this one other time," said Dan Critchfield of Hammond.

There was flooding on the Borman in August of 2007 that reached a level three feet lower than the current floods reached. As a result, the Department of Transportation says it had developed floodgates.

"We're at the mercy of the Little Calumet River. We're pumping water back as fast as we can," said Fegaras.

INDOT says the river is receding. INDOT has brought in 100 extra workers, and for the first time, tolls are being waived on the Indiana Toll Road between Portage all the way to the Illinois border to try to help ease congestion.

On Interstate 65 in northwest Indiana, a 60-mile stretch of northbound lanes between Route 24 and the Borman also remained closed because of high water Wednesday afternoon.

And it could take several weeks before a road in Hobart, Indiana can be repaired due to a sinkhole.

The sinkhole is located along 73rd Avenue, a creek runs below the road and feeds into the lake. All the heavy rain last weekend was too much for the road, causing its collapse.

Look here for a list of roads/detours in Indiana.

INTERSTATES

  • I-80/94 (Borman expressway) closed eastbound from the Bishop Ford Freeway (I-94 in Illinois) to Ripley St. in Indiana due to continued flooding at Kennedy Ave. I-80/94 closed westbound in Indiana from Ripley St. to Indianapolis Blvd.
  • ***The Indiana Toll Road is waving tolls from the Illinois state line to the Portage toll plaza and all ramp tolls in between during the Borman closure***
  • Northbound I-65 remains closed from State Road 24 to the I-80/94 interchange.
  • I-57 exit ramp to eastbound Vollmer Rd. closed
SOUTH
  • Wilmington area: IL 102 closed from Rival Rd. to Warner Bridge Rd. U.S. 50 from Manhattan Monee Rd. to Horner
  • Channahon area: Blodgett Rd. from West Frontage Rd. to Kelly Rd.
  • South Elgin area: Rt. 25 between Dunham and Courier
CENTRAL
  • River Grove area: Grand closed Thatcher to Elm and at River Rd., River Road closed Grand to 1st Ave. merge
  • Hillside: 1st Ave. from Ogden to 31st
  • Naperville: Rt. 53 from Rt. 56 to Park Blvd.
NORTH
  • Des Plaines / Mt. Prospect: River Rd. closed Touhy to Oakton and Camp McDonald Rd. to Central

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