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Third Street bridge project provides flood relief
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Third Street bridge project provides flood relief

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HOBART — The Third Street bridge project isn't yet finished, but the city is already noticing how it is helping to reduce flooding around Lake George.

During a recent heavy rain event, Hobart was forced to close the Wisconsin Street bridge for about 24 hours because of water topping the bridge deck.

Closing the structure has regularly occurred when there is significant rain, but the amount of water that was recently on the Wisconsin Street bridge was far less than what typically is found there.

“Instead of feet of water, it had inches,” City Engineer Phil Gralik said.

Officials said the new Third Street bridge is designed to improve the flow of water and reduce flood elevations on Lake George.

Gralik said a separate project that replaced the nearby railroad bridge also has helped address water restriction issues on Lake George.

“We've seen the benefits of the projects,” Gralik said.

Mayor Brian Snedecor said the ultimate is goal is flood waters won't reach the Wisconsin Street bridge during heavy rain events and cause the city to close it to traffic.

When the Third Street bridge is finished, Lake County is expected to replace the Wisconsin Street bridge, and that project also will help reduce flood levels.

“There will be very few times that will ever close down again,” Snedecor said of the Wisconsin Street bridge after it's replaced.

Although COVID-19 has adjusted city operations, the pandemic hasn't stopped construction of the Third Street bridge.

“We're making great progress on the Third Street bridge,” Gralik said of the structure, which could open to traffic in coming months.

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