Chicago Plans to Work Through Winter on Water Mains

Mayor Emanuel launches 10-year effort to replace 900 miles of century-old water pipe

At the same time Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is making deep cuts to City Hall’s day-to-day operating budget, he is championing a 10-year water-main-modernization that he promised would be the largest public-works initiative by any city in the country.

The city intalled about 75 miles of mains a year between 1890 and 1920, and that those pipes were not expected to serve for more than a century.

Chicago's construction season customarily begins in March, but it has essentially started already, said Thomas H. Powers, commissioner of the city's water department, because the mayor demanded more than double its work rate to meet the program’s timetable. In the next year, the city aims to rebuild 70 miles of water mains, the first stage in a 10-year effort to replace 900 miles of century-old tubing in the city’s 4,300-mile network.

(More on Chicago water-main replacement . . . )

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