For as long as I can remember, the street in front of our house had a giant divot in it. Any time a car would drive over it, you’d hear a bounce and if a truck went by, the house would shake. At some point this summer, a neighbor reported the issue to the city of Chicago.* I thought it would be nice to rid ourselves of the sounds of the pot hole. Little did I know that a minor annoyance would turn into more than a month of inconvenience.
In the early part of September work began on what I dubbed “the hole.” Inspectors of some sort came out to investigate “the hole,” followed a few days later by trucks and equipment. Then they started to dig and dig and dig. Apparently, the workers determined it was a pipe issue and in our Hegewisch neighborhood said pipes are 16 feet below the street. That takes a lot of digging.
The project sparked my interest for two reasons. First, looking out the window seems to calm down babies. Second, with no warning road signs and trucks blocked our driveway and I couldn’t leave the house.
So we began to peek out the curtains and watch them. It seemed that every time we checked, there would be one person working and anywhere from two to seven people looking down the hole “supervising.” They’d roll in around 8 a.m., take an hour lunch break at noon and leave between 2 and 3 p.m. Not a bad work day if I do say, though I’m sure they have to start and end at a main facility somewhere downtown. At least that’s what I tell myself when I envy their hours.
After all that digging, someone realized that the problem wasn’t below the divot itself and they began to fill the initial monstrosity of a hole they created in our street. The next day, they started to dig a new hole, this time directly in front of our house.
By this point, we figured out to park our cars at the end of the block so we could come and go as we pleased during the day. Whenever I’d walk to the car, I’d stop and ask how things were going. At one point, they told me they’d be done in four days. That sounded promising, but 10 days later, they were still out there.
That’s when we heard that the pipe 16 feet below the street had a missing chunk. The workers said it looked like it rotted away and the water just pooled there with no pipes to lead it to Lake Michigan or wherever water goes.
A few days later, the problem was fixed and another day or two after that, the city’s concrete crew came out and filled the giant holes.
I’m thankful they found the problem and hopeful this will mean the end to our basement water issues. And while it’s a little sad to see my window entertainment gone, I’m happy there’s one less bump in our road.
* Editor's note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version. At some point this summer, a neighbor reported the issue to the city of Chicago.