Last barrier to Busse Woods dam project removed
Saturday, May 02, 2015
by Eric Peterson and Joe Lewnard
A view of the main dam at Busse Woods near Elk Grove Village.
With the approval of a final intergovernmental agreement this week, a long-awaited improvement to the dam in Busse Woods near Elk Grove Village is on track to begin alleviating flooding along Salt Creek this fall.
"We're on target for an Aug. 1 construction date," Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson said. "It should be fully operational by Thanksgiving of this year."
The last agreement was among Elk Grove Village, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.
Elk Grove Village had previously signed a separate agreement between itself and DuPage County.
Johnson said the village has served as the neutral party that has brought Cook and DuPage counties together on the project. The two agreements identify Elk Grove as the principal party in charge of operation, oversight and management, though in reality all the parties will be constantly monitoring the dam.
Work on the project began in 2008, and Johnson said that without the new spirit of inter-county cooperation he's seen manifested by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, it might still be nowhere near completion.
"It was such a breath of fresh air," Johnson said. "It's the way it's supposed to be. It really rejuvenated my view that governments can work together for the benefit of the people."
After 18 years as mayor, Johnson said he'll consider completion of this project the biggest accomplishment of his tenure. It will make the dam work as well as it was supposed to 40 years ago, he added.
The biggest challenge to the progress of the dam improvement was the continual discovery that yet another federal agency had some area of jurisdiction on the project and needed to be brought in for approval, Johnson said.
The total cost of the project, including both engineering and construction, is about $3 million. The village's share is approximately $1.7 million, Johnson said.
In March, the village approved a $481,510 contract with Massachusetts-based Steel-Fab Inc. to manufacture the hinged crest gates that will be installed at the dam.
These gates will open and close, allowing water to come in or go out, depending on the upstream water level.