Winnetka's Flood Study Approved After Public Demand

The first step toward fixing Winnetka's flooding problem is approved after more than 1,000 homes were destroyed last year in the village.

An almost $18,000 contract to study the flooding problem in Winnetka was approved Thursday night by the Village Council, according to Winnetka Talk, and officials are hoping it will fix the village’s issues with excessive rainfall once and for all.

This comes after Winnetka residents demanding action. On July 23, 2011, the village saw the "largest single-day rainfall since records began in 1871," resulting in massive floods and property damage. 

The newly approved study, which was awarded to Christopher B. Burke Engineering, will look at an 80-acre plot of land south of Tower Road between the Winnetka Golf Course and Hibbard Road.

“This area was studied in 2001, and 10-year design improvements have been implemented along Sunview Lane, Trapp Lane, and Hackberry Lane,” the Village outlined in the meeting’s agenda. “The Village Council has determined that this area should be re-studied to determine what, if any, additional improvements may be needed to provide increased flood protection in this area, and if this area could be connected to the proposed storm water tunnel currently under consideration.”

An along Willow Road was proposed in July to combat massive storms like Winnetka saw in 2011. That flood damaged roughly one in four homes last July when around 6.6 inches of rain swamped the area in less than 24 hours.

The eight-foot diameter pipe would protect Winnetka homes from a 100-year flood, and might be executed in conjunction with the village’s between Forestway Drive and Provident Avenue.

“The Village Council has determined that this area should be re-studied to determine what, if any, additional improvements may be needed..."

The village is hoping to cut costs of the storm water drainage study for the plot of land near the by using in-house labor as much as possible, or by verifying and updating the study they already did in 2001.

“(Burke Engineering) will develop a model to see where the system fails,” Village Engineer Steve Saunders said, according to Winnetka Talk. “One of the things we’re going to do to keep these costs down (is use previous data). We do have good info from the previous drainage studies in terms of surveys that they can rely on.”

After the study is completed, Saunders says the engineering firm will come back with cost estimates for improving and protecting the land against future flooding.


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