Water-level, velocity, and dye measurements in the Chicago tunnels

K. A. Oberg, A. R. Schmidt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


On April 13, 1992, a section of a 100-year-old underground freight tunnel in downtown Chicago, Illinois was breached where the tunnel crosses under the Chicago River, about 15 meters below land surface. The breach allowed water from the Chicago River to flow into the freight tunnels and into buildings connected to the tunnels. As a result, utility services to more than 100 buildings in downtown Chicago were lost, several hundred thousand workers were sent home, and the entire subway system and a major expressway in the Loop were shut down. The breach in the tunnel was sealed and the tunnel dewatered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and its contractors. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assisted the Corps in their efforts to plug and dewater the freight tunnels and connected buildings. This assistance included the installation and operation of telemetered gages for monitoring water levels in the tunnel system and velocity measurements made in the vicinity of the tunnel breach. A fluorescent dye tracer was used to check for leaks in the plugs, which isolated the damaged portion of the Chicago freight tunnel from the remainder of the tunnel system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - National Conference on Hydraulic Engineering
EditorsHsieh Wen Shen, S.T. Su, Feng Wen
PublisherPubl by ASCE
Number of pages6
Editionpt 2
ISBN (Print)0872629201
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the National Conference on Hydraulic Engineering - San Francisco, CA, USA
Duration: Jul 25 1993Jul 30 1993

Publication series

NameProceedings - National Conference on Hydraulic Engineering
Numberpt 2


OtherProceedings of the National Conference on Hydraulic Engineering
CitySan Francisco, CA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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