Officials, residents mark completion of Little Cal River Hammond Levee Tieback project

NWI Times

HAMMOND — Officials on Tuesday cut a ceremonial ribbon marking the completion of the levee tieback project that U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D- Merrillville, said has been 41 years in the making.

“Today is a historic day in Northwest Indiana,” said Visclosky, who recalled talking with others about flood control along the Little Calumet River in 1976. “This project provides economic opportunity, job creation and quality of place.”

Constructed of 4-foot high concrete sections, the Hammond Levee Tieback was built along portions of 172nd Place and State Line Road completing 1,950 linear feet of flood control. It ties into the existing earthen levee along the Little Calumet River, increasing protection from the 100-year flood level to a 200-year flood elevation, said Susanne M. Hogan, president of DSI and Associates.

The Burr Ridge, Illinois, company was awarded the construction contract on Sept. 30, 2016, for $582,384. Of that amount, 75 percent came from federal funds; the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission provided the remaining 25 percent.

This project was one of the final pieces in the Little Calumet River Flood Risk Management Project, which included constructing 22 miles of levees and floodwalls, installing a control structure at Hart Ditch, building almost 17 miles of hiking trails and preserving over 400 acres of wetland, said Col. Aaron Reisinger, commander U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District.

“The Hammond Forest Avenue Levee reduces the frequency of flooding for approximately 200 structures, valued at $50 million, and 400 residents within the ... area,” he said.

The Little Calumet River Flood Risk Management Project will protect more than 9,500 homes and businesses in Gary, Griffith, Hammond, Highland and Munster, preventing nearly $11 million in average annual flood damage, said Reisinger, who joined the ACE Chicago District 2½ months ago.

The project took 125 to 150 houses out of the flood plain and reduced annual flood insurance premiums to less than $500, from between $1,800 and $2,400.