The orange-barrel-sprouting, parking-restricting, lane-closing water main project along Sherman Avenue should be finished within several weeks, making it less painful to navigate an important stretch of Evanston’s roadways.

Sat Nagar, the city’s project engineer, tells Evanston Now that replacement of a critical 30-inch water main under Sherman and other nearby streets , which began in March, was actually completed a couple of weeks ago. The construction trenches have been filled in.

What’s still left is concrete work and repaving on Colfax Street, then down Sherman to Emerson, targeted to be wrapped up in October.

Nagar says the city wanted to speed up the work and finish early, but a strike at quarries stopped access to needed materials.

The strike is over, Nagar says, but “there is still a backlog” of orders for construction projects around the area.

Plus, even with strikers back on the job, “there’s still a demand for labor,” Nagar says. Fewer quarry workers means slower output.

The entire $10 million, federally funded project runs from the water plant on Lake Michigan to Davis Street downtown, 8,000 feet of either new or reconstructed main. South end segments along Emerson and Benson wrapped up some time ago.

A city release says this line “serves as the backbone” of Evanston’s transmission network and will “improve water quality for area residents and businesses … by increasing the resiliency of the citywide water system.”

The 30-inch diameter main has both new and rehabilitated pipe, updating and replacing a line that dates to 1934.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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