Ground broken for Des Plaines River levee

March 13, 2009 9:54:21 AM PDT
Residents hope a new levee will help prevent future flooding in communities along the Des Plaines River. They have been hit hard by flooding after heavy rains in recent years.

Late Friday morning, Sen. Dick Durbin, congressmen Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam, and the Army Corps of Engineers were part of the groundbreaking ceremony for what is called the Levee 37 Flood Control project along the Des Plaines River.

"The flooding is a problem here. In September, we had a big flood, and a lot of the houses in the area got flooded," Gisela Garcia told ABC7 Chicago.

Still, those who live near the river remain hopeful.

"It's horrible. The last time it flooded, we got four inches in our basement, and everything was destroyed," said Abby Cooper.

The project is designed to protect over 600 homes and businesses in Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights where many families and business owners have suffered significant damage.

This is the second of six planned flood protection projects in Cook and Lake counties that were suggested after studies of record floods in 1986 and 1987.

"I don't know how to describe it. Crazy. It's the damage you get in your home that everything gets destroyed with water," resident Helen Giafis said.

The levee project is expected to cost $23 million in federal, state, and local funds. It is expected to be done by 2011.