When construction workers caused $1 billion in damage Downtown
The next time you make an idiotic mistake at work, remember this: at least your stupid mistake isn’t likely to cause $1 billion worth of damage to the city of Chicago. Unfortunately, a group of construction workers who were working on the Kinzie Street bridge (of Poopgate fame) back in 1992 can’t say the same.
You see, they accidentally punctured a hole in the ceiling of one of the tunnels under the Chicago River. For some reason, this wasn’t alarming to anyone... until 124 million gallons of water began pouring into the 47 mile network of tunnels that run under much of the Loop. Inevitably, the water started flooding into the basements of buildings, knocking out electric power and natural gas service for much of the Downtown area. Everything from City Hall to the Chicago Board of Trade were forced to shut down, trains were rerouted, and it took weeks for most buildings to recover. The best part: the city knew about the issue for three months prior to the flood, but in true Chicago fashion, they took too long approving the $10,000 contract needed to repair the issue.