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Morton team remedies eight years of flooding on Illinois 116 in East Peoria

Major flooding plagued a stretch of Illinois 116 and nearby Dixon’s Fish Market, both located along the Illinois River in East Peoria. The drainage issue began in 2013 when heavy rains eroded a nearby bluff, carrying sand and debris downstream and obstructing a 42-inch culvert that crossed under the road. From that point on, the culvert would become blocked whenever it rained significantly, causing repeated flooding.

IDOT, Dixon’s and the City of East Peoria worked together to rectify the situation for years without long-term success. Dixon’s would redirect water flow away from their building to the drainage system, while IDOT excavated the reoccurring blockages. A better solution was needed.

In November 2021, the Morton section team prepped the area for construction by clearing trees from the upstream side of the culvert and removing eight truckloads of debris. Initially, Day Labor, IDOT’s internal construction team, was set to do the work. However, due to scheduling demands, they were unavailable until 2022. To expedite the process and mitigate spring flooding, the Morton team stepped in and finished most of the construction by Dec. 15.

It took eight days of excavation and hauling to clean out the pipe and downstream ditch line. The team then used retention baskets and riprap to armor the upstream inlet and create a basin that will help neutralize the force of future floodwater in the area.

Over 400 tons of aggregate were used in the project. When the team was unable to procure necessary gabion baskets promptly due to supply chain issues, they pivoted and purchased multiple sheets of reinforcement mesh to make the retention baskets in-house.

Dale Hiles, Operations Supervisor from the Morton Team said, “The entire crew from Team Section 441 rose to the challenge. We were able to stay on schedule with the design changes we made to complete most of the work before cold weather hit.”

A small section of work remains at the downstream end of the culvert that the team will complete in the spring.

The project cost $68,400 with an estimated $1,500 to finish the downstream section – all under budget by $5,000.