CHICAGO (CBS) — Construction begins Monday on an emergency project to stop beach erosion in the Rogers Park neighborhood.
Lake levels are so high, waves actually crash into the back of several homes along the shoreline.
Over the next few weeks, crews will use large boulders to build a retaining wall along the lakefront at Juneway Beach.
It’s a temporary fix, but should work for a few years, until there’s a long-term solution.
Chain-link fences lined with mesh have been set up on the perimeter of Juneway Beach, where several months of construction will begin on Monday, according to Ald. Maria Hadden’s office in the 49th Ward.
At some point over the next few weeks, boulders weighing tons will be placed where months of repeated storms have eaten away at the shoreline, causing sidewalks to collapse, and large sinkholes to open just yards away from artist Davis McCarty’s “Quantum Dee” sculpture.
“I spent a year of my life building this sculpture, and a lot of my savings. This was my gift to the city,” he said. “It’s only fitting that as things crumbled around it, it’s still standing strong.”
Hadden’s office said the plan is to install the stone retaining walls along the shoreline at Juneway Beach to stop the erosion before it gets worse. The hope is the project will buy 3 to 5 years while the city and the Army Corps of Engineers study potential long-term solutions.
If all goes according to plan, those boulders could end up saving Juneway Beach Park and McCarty’s pride and joy.
“It’s not often we can say that we’re making progress by building walls, but I hope in this case it’s true,” McCarty said.
Hadden’s office said once construction at Juneway Beach is complete, they plan to reinforce the shorelines at Howard and Rogers beaches next. Officials started at Juneway, because the erosion there is the most severe.
It’s unclear how much the project will cost, or who is paying for it, but the alderman’s office said the price tag will be in the millions.