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Exciting Boring News: Mile-Long Albany Park Tunnel Drilling Complete

By Patty Wetli | September 1, 2017 5:48am | Updated on September 1, 2017 1:18pm
 The tunnel borer at work.
The tunnel borer at work.
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Chicago Department of Transportation

ALBANY PARK — All 5,833 feet of the Albany Park Storm Water Diversion Tunnel have been drilled after a tunnel boring machine broke through the last inches of rock on Wednesday night.

The mile-plus tunnel, 150-feet below Foster Avenue, connects an inlet shaft near Springfield Avenue with an outlet shaft in River Park.

"This is a great achievement for the project. We now have an official tunnel," said Sonny Jaramilla, the tunnel's on-site project manager for the engineering firm WSP USA.

The next step is to line the 18-foot-diameter tunnel with concrete, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Once the tunnel becomes operational, sometime in spring 2018, the pipe will divert overflow from the Chicago River away from homes in Albany Park and North Park, releasing the water into the North Shore Channel downstream.

The $70 million tunnel was announced in 2013 following flooding that saw residents evacuated by boat. Construction began in 2016.

The Chicago Department of Transportation shared video of "holing through" moment.