New Lake Forest Pumping Station Touted By Governor, Local Officials

November 15, 2023 0 By JohnValbyNation

LAKE FOREST, IL — Local elected officials welcomed Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his transportation chief to the Lake Forest Recreation Center to celebrate the long-awaited opening of a new pumping station at Route 41 and Deerpath Road.

The $18.3 million project was previously projected to cost $12 million and be complete by the end of last year. Water entered the station for the first time in June, according to city staff.

“The flooding at Deerpath Road and Route 41 underpass was a decadeslong problem for Lake Foresters,” Lake Forest Mayor Randy Tack said Thursday. “Several times a year, during rain events, there would be standing water upwards of 12 feet blocking Deerpath Road, which is one of the main east-west arterials through Lake Forest.”

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Flooding under the viaduct presents a public safety concern, since it cuts off the public safety building east of Route 41 from Lake Forest Hospital to its west “significantly impacted” children from being able to travel to and from Deerpath Middle School and Lake Forest High School, the mayor said.

“I am happy to report that since the project’s completion, Deerpath Road continues to be possible even during heavy rain events,” Tack said.

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The Illinois Department of Transportation project involved building a new, larger pump station is located at the southwest corner of Deerpath Road and Ahwahnee Lane, added storm sewers and two detention ponds. City officials now own the new pump station and are responsible for its maintenance.

“Anyone who frequents this area knows all too well that the viaduct at Deerpath Road and US Route 41 is prone to severe flooding every time there is a major storm,” Pritzker said.

“Regular road closures keep children from getting to school, prevent parents from going to the grocery store and, in the worst cases, block families from getting their loved ones to the hospital,” he said. “It really has been an untenable situation but one that’s existed for decades since the pump station was installed in the 1950s.”

In addition to the new drainage improvements, which included multiple pumps and a backup generator system that will keep it pumping if the power goes out, Deerpath Road between Skokie Highway and Golf Lane has been resurfaced and widened.

It now has dedicated right and left turn lanes at Skokie Highway, along with new sidewalks featuring ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Travelers and Lake Forest residents can now rest easy when it rains knowing that they won’t be trapped on flooded roads with no means to get out,” Pritzker said.

“This project was a massive undertaking,” he said, “requiring the cooperation and coordination of not only the Illinois Department of Transportation but also the City of Lake Forest, local stakeholders like the Union Pacific Railroad, Northwestern Medical Lake Forest Hospital, Faith Lutheran Church, and Deerpath Middle School.”

City staff produced a video showing the construction process:

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