Weather delays completion of State Line flood control barrier

2013-12-21T20:00:00Z 2013-12-21T21:18:06Z Weather delays completion of State Line flood control barrierLU ANN FRANKLIN Times Correspondent
December 21, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

Weather continues to delay the State Line Avenue flood control barrier authorized by the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission.

A one-two punch of violent wind storms Nov. 17 and snow and bitter cold earlier this month put the project behind its original completion date of Dec. 31, commission Executive Director Dan Repay said during the panel's December meeting.

Installation of the large concrete blocks that form the barrier is now expected during the last week of January and will take four days, Repay said.

Those concrete blocks will be installed along State Line Avenue from the Little Calumet River on the south to 165th Street on the north. The blocks are designed to protect Hammond residents from possible flooding from the Little Calumet River as it flows into Illinois.

Because of the site’s topography, the concrete barrier will be 4 feet high near the Little Calumet River and 3 feet tall along most of State Line Avenue.

The concrete barriers will have five or six gaps in the wall so people can walk through. Those gaps will be sandbagged in the event of a flood.

At its November meeting, the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission unanimously voted to award the $142,000 contract for installation of the 2,500 linear feet of blocks to Grimmer Construction, of Highland.

Crews from Grimmer Construction began digging out an area where the cement pad for the blocks would be poured shortly after the bid award.

However, the Lowell Concrete facility where the blocks are being made sustained major roof damage during the Nov. 17 storms and production was affected.

“They are still making the blocks” despite the damage, Repay said.

The bitterly cold weather that descended next on the region in December forced a change of plans and a $9,000 extra charge for an additive to the concrete to keep it from freezing, he said.

The concrete pad was finished Dec. 11 by crews from Grimmer Construction and Walsh & Kelly Inc., of Griffith.

Hammond resident Laurie Czulno expressed concern about the construction delay.

“I have concerns about the end of January (installation of blocks),” said Czulno, a longtime advocate of flood protection along State Line Avenue. “Won’t there be snow and cold weather at the end of January?”

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