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Touhy Avenue Water Main Replacement Nightmares: 'End Is Near'

By Linze Rice | July 25, 2017 5:40am
 City contractor NPL apologized to North Side aldermen after complaints about its work in multiple wards.
City contractor NPL apologized to North Side aldermen after complaints about its work in multiple wards.
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DNAinfo/Linze Rice; Facebook

ROGERS PARK — The "end is near" for a Touhy Avenue water main replacement project that's caused crumbling streets and compelled contractors to apologize for shoddy work in its wake.

In a recent update on the project from Ald. Joe Moore (49th), the Far North Side aldermen laid out the remaining plans contractor NPL is expected to complete, which should wrap up in August, in addition to street resurfacing later this year. Touhy east of Ridge Avenue will be resurfaced first.

In the meantime, NPL will continue connecting homes with the new water main, as well as pouring concrete caps onto streets while they await final resurfacing. Get the full timeline here.

The project revolves around the replacement of a 125-year-old water main along Touhy between Western and Clark, which began over the winter. 

But Moore said his office began receiving complaints of work delays, "poor and unsafe work sites," and witnessed overall "deficient work." Some of those issues included swaths of crumbling streets.

In response, the alderman demanded NPL make immediate improvements to sections of the street and clean up messes left behind by contractors.

Though NPL adhered to Moore's requests, the alderman called for a public hearing after learning that at least four other aldermen had also experienced inferior work by NPL in their wards as well. 

The hearing was canceled after Moore said the contractors were "appropriately apologetic and promised to finish the Touhy work as quickly as possible."

NPL is required to "return our neighborhood to original or better condition," Moore said.

In the same construction update, Moore also mentioned a new project in the ward in which 4,800 feet of old sewer lines will be replaced. He emphasized another contractor, Joel Kennedy Construction Corporation, would be performing the work. 

"Joel Kennedy, president of the company, told me that his company has completed more than 100 construction projects in Chicago, and never once missed a project completion date," Moore said. "I mention this pertinent fact because I know the water main installation project on Touhy, performed by another contractor, has been beset with delays."