CHICAGO (CBS) — A $70 million project to divert the North branch of the Chicago River and protect homes from flooding in the Albany park neighborhood reached a milestone.

In recent years, Albany Park has been devastated by flooding twice, and city officials say they’re confident this project will solve the flooding problems.

The plan is to divert Chicago River water into a tunnel and send it into the North Shore channel. The tunnel is expected to be 1.4 miles long and 18 ft. in diameter.

The commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), Rebekah Scheinfeld, calls the tunnel an “elegant solution.”

Scheinfeld added that they have completed their blasting operations.

“I think this means to the residents of Albany Park that they’re not going to have sleepless nights when there’s rain in the forecast,” said Ald. Margaret Laurino.

The tunnel is on budget as well as on time, and is expected to be operational next Spring.

In the meantime, Laurino said they have a plan in place when the river rises.

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