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Touhy Will Be Torn Up From Western To Clark Until May For New Water Main

By Linze Rice | January 13, 2017 6:08am | Updated on January 16, 2017 8:36am
 Construction underway just east of Western Avenue at Touhy.
Construction underway just east of Western Avenue at Touhy.
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DNAinfo/Linze Rice

ROGERS PARK — A busy stretch of Touhy Avenue through West Ridge and Rogers Park will be under construction until May as the city replaces a 125-year-old water main, officials warned residents Thursday. 

Work is already underway in the 50th Ward and heading east from Western to Oakley avenues on the north side of the street. 

The entire width of Touhy Avenue will then be resurfaced, with the project expected to wrap up by the end of May, Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said in an email to residents. 

After that, the city will focus its efforts on another span of Touhy from Clark Street to Sheridan Road.

That leg of the project should begin in the summer and wrap up in the fall, also with a newly finished road surface, Moore said. 

While the water main and resurfacing is active, Moore said parking on the street would be limited to early morning, evening and overnight hours with a restriction from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Vehicles would need to be moved by the start of the work day. 

Touhy residents will also experience temporary disruptions in water service, sometimes with notice and potentially without, Moore said. 

"However, the contractor will try to avoid that if at all possible," Moore added.

Lead exposure in water pipes has been a concern in the city in recent months, causing a number of city-owned facilities like schools and parks to get tested for lead. 

In December, Woodlawn-based journalism group City Bureau dubbed Chicago "ground zero" for lead water pipes. 

Their use was mandated by city code until 1986, when Congress banned them, said Nissa Rhee, lead reporter for City Bureau's project. 

The nonprofit media organization launched a service that will give residents neighborhood-level data on exposure to lead poisoning, which can be used by texting 312-697-1791 with the word "lead."

Other major cities started to phase out lead pipes in the 1950s, she said.

"Chicago is really an outlier here," Rhee said. "We've been Flint for years."

Adjacent neighborhoods like Edgewater have also been undergoing extensive water main replacement work over the last few years, including North Broadway Street and Ridge Avenue. 

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