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37 com./research/info/briefings/documents/policastro.pdf Authority (CTA) of the State Street subway, the Dearborn (Accessed Nov. 16, 2004). Street subway, and the Kennedy Expressway. At the time of the "Sarin Gas Attack on the Tokyo Subway" (2004). Wikipedia. flood, the tunnel ran under many important buildings in Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarin_gas_attack_on_ downtown Chicago and criss-crossed under the Chicago the_Tokyo_Subway (Accessed Nov. 16, 2004). River at a dozen locations. Yokoyama, K. (1998). "Chronic Neurobehavioral Effects of Although the tunnel system was unknown to most resi- Tokyo Subway Sarin Poisoning In Relation To Posttraumatic dents after it was abandoned in 1959, it was equipped with a Stress Disorder." Archives of Environmental Health, JulyAugust. 24-inch (61-centimeter)-gauge track on which at least one Available: http://www.findarticles.com/p/artciles/mi_m0907/ engine and four cars that hauled ash remained intact at the is_n4_v53/ai_21017749/print (Accessed on Nov. 16, 2004). time of the flood. At the time of the flood, telephone compa- nies, cable television companies, and light and power compa- nies (e.g., Commonwealth Edison and Peoples Gas) rented 3.2.9 Chicago Freight Tunnel Flood tunnel space from the city to run lines and store equipment. Location: Chicago, Illinois Because the responsibility for the tunnels had been trans- Date: April 13, 1992 ferred among a variety of city agencies over time, the exis- Incident Category: flood in unused, underwater, and tence of the tunnels had been virtually forgotten and little underground freight tunnel oversight was exercised. Tunnel Length: 50 miles (80 kilometers) Some of the tunnel system's statistics give an indication of Fatalities and Injuries: 0 fatalities, 0 injuries its size and complexity. When described in 1928 (considered accurate at the time of the flood), the tunnel, which measured 6 by 7.5 feet (1.8 by 2.3 meters), encompassed 734 intersec- Synopsis tions and sidings, had 96 elevators (not all operable), 266 A piling driven into the Chicago River bottom caused a leak telephones that once connected to the Chicago Tunnel in the underground freight tunnel. The inrush of water Company's central station dispatchers, 540 pumps, 63 sumps, spread through much of the system's 50 miles (80 kilometers) and almost 4,000 lights. The average distance of the tunnel of tunnels. Although there were no deaths or significant below street level was 40 feet (12 meters). injuries, the disruption caused flooding to more than 50 Providing an indication of its importance to early commerce, buildings, most of which had to be evacuated. The disruption there were 26 private merchandise connections for freight deliv- flooded stores and halted utility service throughout Chicago's ery, 40 connections for picking up and delivering coal and cin- Downtown Loop area. More than 250,000 people were evac- der, 16 connections for cinder only, three coal receiving stations, uated from some of Chicago's busiest and most famous build- and four universal public stations. At the public stations, any- ings, including the Sears Tower, the Merchandise Mart, and one could have dropped a shipment to be routed through the Marshall Field's Department Store. Declared a local, state, and tunnels via any of the 49 railroad connections. federal emergency, the flood was estimated to have cost Chicago $40 million for the five and a half weeks it took to Analysis of the Incident pump the water from the tunnel and as much as $2 billion in lost revenue, tax assessment losses, and damage to the city's At about 5:30 a.m. on April 13, a slow leak that had proba- infrastructure. bly been in existence for the previous 7 months began to flood the tunnel system. The flood was discovered by a boiler room engineer working at the Merchandise Mart, north of the Analysis of Pre-Incident Information and Events Loop, who heard the sound of running water. He was located The Chicago freight tunnel system was constructed in the lowest basement of the Mart, about 30 feet (9 meters) between 1899 and 1904, originally for a telephone system that below the level where the Chicago River was flooding into the was never created. The tunnel system was used to deliver coal, tunnel. The Chicago fire department was notified at 5:57 a.m. remove ash, and deliver freight directly by railroad transfer or Shortly after 6:00 a.m., the Chicago Emergency Preparedness by trucks that delivered merchandise at street level. The mer- and Disaster Service, part of the fire department, activated the chandise was then transported on rail cars for unloading at city's emergency operation plan and sought to locate the specific stores' underground sidings. A 2-foot-gauge, mine- source of the water, which was initially thought to be a sewer type electric railway operated in the tunnels, connecting to or water main that had burst. major railroad and port facilities. Over the years, the 62 miles By 6:30 a.m., after a citizen reported seeing a whirlpool in (100 kilometers) of tunnel had shrunk to about 50 miles (80 the Chicago River's North Branch near the Kinzie Street kilometers) because of construction by the Chicago Transit bridge, it was determined that the source of the water was a
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38 hole in the tunnel near the bridge. The hole was later deter- The dewatering process continued until May 22; work mined to have been caused by a bridge piling that had been associated with sealing the tunnel continued until June 30, inadvertently pounded into the side of the tunnel exactly 1992. where the whirlpool was observed. Between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m., flooding was reported in five Damage and Service Restoration more buildings, including Marshall Field's Department Store. By 9:00 a.m., 11 feet (3.3 meters) of water had filled the low- Although service was restored within 3 days, it took five est of City's Hall's three basement levels. Shortly thereafter, and a half weeks to pump water out of the tunnel system at a City Hall was evacuated, power was shut down by Common- cost of $40 million. It took additional months for the Loop wealth Edison, and additional buildings were evacuated. At area to return to its previous state. The cost in lost business about 9:00 a.m., water was discovered in the subway tunnels was estimated at almost $2 billion. Nine employees of the city and the CTA stopped all service. At 11:00 a.m., the entire of Chicago, including the acting transportation commis- downtown Loop area, from the Chicago River south to Tay- sioner, lost their jobs after it was determined that they had lor Street and from Canal Street east to Michigan Avenue, was ignored reports months earlier that the tunnel was leaking. At shut down. The evacuation involved about 250,000 people. that time, about 7 months before the flood, the estimated cost By noon, 23 buildings had been flooded. Although of repairing the leak had been less than $10,000. quick-dry concrete had been poured into the area around Illinois Bell activated and maintained its 24-hour emer- the hole by Kenny Construction Company, a private firm gency operations center from the first day of the flood until employed by the city, about 250 million gallons (946 mil- the 31st day (May 13). Call volume on the first day was esti- lion liters) of water, containing fish and debris from the mated at about 150,000 per hour, three times the usual vol- river, continued to flood the basements of more than 50 ume. Increased volume was also recorded for days in buildings in the Loop. directory assistance calls and requests for call forwarding. Cables were submerged, and fiber optic equipment had to be replaced. Electrical power was restored to about half the Fatalities and Injuries buildings in the Loop on April 17. There were no fatalities and no injuries reported as a result Beginning the day of the flood, small boats were barred of the incident. from passing through the Kinzie Street bridge area of the Chicago River. While some traffic was permitted use of the area on April 30, the river was not completely reopened until Fire and Emergency Response May 21. The Chicago fire department was notified at 5:57 a.m., less On April 18, the Kennedy Expressway, used by about than a half hour after the leak was observed. Shortly after 6:00 200,000 vehicles per day, was closed for fear that it would a.m., the Chicago Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Ser- flood. It remained closed for 10 days, which impacted the vice, a part of the fire department, activated the city's emer- transportation system, particularly in light of the continuing gency operations plan. Despite this effort, the source of the subway closures. water, initially thought to be a sewer or water main break, was The two affected CTA subway lines also incurred costs and discovered inadvertently to be the Chicago River leaking into service delays. The State Street subway did not reopen until the old Chicago freight tunnel. May 1 (the 19th day). On May 7 (the 25th day), the Dearborn By early the first day of the incident, the Illinois Emergency Street subway reopened. Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Red Cross were involved. Both Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Conclusions Illinois Governor Jim Edgar declared emergencies, and a joint command center was established for all emergency workers Subsequent to the incident, it was learned that the flood near the breach site. On the evening of April 14 (the second might have been prevented had the initial crack in the tunnel day of the incident), Mayor Daley contacted the White House under the Chicago River been repaired for less than $10,000. to request assistance from FEMA. The request was approved This crack had been reported to at least one city agency by the and received the following day. Despite disputes between the company that installed the pilings, but the report was city and the state over financial responsibilities, on April 18 ignored. Forty million dollars was spent on pumping and (five days after the incident), the U.S. Army Corps of Engi- plugging the leak, and an estimated $2 billion was spent on neers was assigned to seal the breach in the tunnel and then overall costs of the incident. to remove the accumulated water from the freight tunnel sys- The structural stability of many buildings had to be tem and other affected areas. ensured; there were numerous safety issues involving