September 10, 2008

Riverwalk Work Hits Another Snag

By Daily Herald staff report

Construction crews working to rejuvenate a two-block portion of Naperville's Riverwalk discovered an unidentified petroleum product Thursday afternoon while excavating between Eagle and Main streets.

"All proper procedures are being taken to ensure this substance is properly contained," City Manager Pro Tem Bob Marshall said in a written statement. "Naperville Fire Department officials and a contracted environmentalist were immediately notified about this discovery."

The environmentalist was called to perform testing on the substance and will inform the city of its specific nature, how to clean it and where to properly dispose of it.

"We are confident that this will not impact the DuPage River," Marshall said in the statement.

The fire department was on the scene Thursday to contain any potential spills into the DuPage River. Floating dams have been used to contain any spills and protect the river.

Soil samples will be analyzed within the next 24 hours, officials said, and a plan to clean the area will be put into effect by early next week.

This is just the latest snag to strike the $1.44 million project that already has been hit by construction delays and cost overruns.

Work on the path began in early February with the goal of reconstructing the bulkhead wall from the 1930s that supports the lower walkway. But crews recently discovered the bedrock they were expecting to find is two to three feet deeper than anticipated.

Engineers and designers said they found a solution to that problem and the city council on Tuesday authorized an additional $125,745 for redesign, materials and construction.

Despite exceeding the city's allotted funding, officials said the project still is under its original budget estimate of $1.8 million.

But the bedrock issue, combined with uncooperative weather and now this latest setback, means the project likely will be completed closer to Aug. 1 than the original date of June 30.

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