The settlement will be presented to U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras for final approval.
"We're very pleased with the resolution," said Jeffrey Stone, one of the lawyers for Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co., the firm that was working for the city in April 1992 when a hole punched by a pile driver in one of the freight tunnels under the river at Kinzie Street caused the tunnel to burst.
In the hours after the tunnel collapsed, hundreds of thousands of gallons of river water roared through the labyrinthine tunnel system beneath Chicago's Loop, flooding basements and causing millions of dollars in damage.
The downtown area was evacuated, and it took several days for workers to drain the tunnels and patch the rupture.
The Great Lakes firm was sued for up to $150 million in federal court, and lawyers wrangled about whether the city government or the contracting firm had more responsibility for the disaster.
As is common in such settlements, the Great Lakes firm will admit no liability in the flood.
Last August, the city agreed to pay up to $36 million to Field's and about a dozen other downtown businesses that had sued to recover damages caused by the flood.
The settlement between the city and the businesses left Great Lakes to fend for itself in the pending federal court suit, leading it to the final financial settlement that will be presented Wednesday.
Other properties in the settlement are Filene's Basement, Ingalls Health Systems, Tishman-Speyer Properties, the University of Chicago and Sara Creek Property.
Although the settlement apparently will end the four-year battle in the federal court, it does not mark the end of the legal wrangling among the downtown businesses, the dredging company and the city.
Still pending in Cook County Circuit Court are suits asking millions more in damages from the city and from the dredging company.
The city government and its taxpayers got a boost in December when the Illinois Appellate Court granted the city almost blanket protection from liability in the case.
Source : http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-05-08/news/9605080039_1_tunnel-system-chicago-river-great-lakes-dredge360