Flooding Closes Roads Between University of Chicago and Lake Shore Drive

By Sam Cholke on April 18, 2013 2:26pm 

 Micah Downs, a maintenance worker at the University of Chicago, tries to unclog a storm drain on East 60th Street. The eastbound lane of the Midway Plaisance was closed to traffic all day Thursday because of flooding.
Micah Downs, a maintenance worker at the University of Chicago, tries to unclog a storm drain on East 60th Street. The eastbound lane of the Midway Plaisance was closed to traffic all day Thursday because of flooding.
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DNAInfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — The eastbound lane of the Midway Plaisance was submerged beneath eight inches of water under the Metra tracks Thursday afternoon, but much of Hyde Park avoided extensive flooding when heavy rains swept through.

Micah Downs from Facilities Services at the University of Chicago was out in waders tugging at a storm drain on East 60th Street under the Metra tracks. He suspected it was welded shut and jabbed at the drain hoping to free up any blockage.

East 60th Street remained open, but the adjacent eastbound lane of the Midway Plaisance was closed during the morning commute and was expected to remain closed as university employees head toward South Lake Shore Drive during the evening commute.

“I would guess it’s about eight inches of water,” Downs said, looking through the balustrades to a brown pool of water blocking traffic.

A survey of the neighborhood turned up no severe flooding. The ice skating rink in the middle of the Midway Plaisance was a two-inch pool of water. Underpasses near the lakefront were slick with a thin sheen of mud, but standing water had drained away.

The Museum of Science and Industry’s three-level subterranean parking garage, which sits below the water table and is one of the lowest points along the lakefront, was completely dry around 1 p.m. and showed no signs of standing water.

A spokesman for the University of Chicago said the university was alerting faculty and staff to issues on the Midway, but was unaware of any other issues with flooding near campus.

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