Officials make a breakthrough for the new Dixmoor, IL aqueduct at 143rd Street

DIXMOOR, Ill. (WLS) — The southern suburb of Dixmoor held a breakthrough Monday morning for a new aqueduct after years of water main breaks, boil-and-die orders.

Several elected officials are at 2021 W. 143rd St. around 9am to mark the start of a much needed major water infrastructure project at Dixmoor.

The southern suburb of 3,600 people has been plagued by constant water cut-outs and blackouts as 100-year-old infrastructure collapsed, Dixmoor's president said.

Old water pipes slowly deteriorate underground and are no longer strong enough to do their job.

“We're cutting Band-Aids but that's not going to solve the problem. You have to stop the leaks,” said Dixmoor Director of Economic Development John Thompson.

VIEW MORE: Water aid on the way for Dixmoor residents disrupted by closures, crumbling infrastructure

But relief is on its way.

The announcement gathered elected officials from Cook County and Congress, where most of the funding for this project came from.

“This is a new day at Dixmoor. Not only is it a breakthrough for water, it's a breakthrough that residents shouldn't be afraid to turn on the faucet for clean running water,” said US Representative Jonathan Jackson.

The $2.2 million project, also funded by the US Army Corps of Engineers, will replace a 2-mile waterway that will run under Interstate 57.

Officials say the project aims to reduce water loss, increase water stress and improve firefighting capabilities throughout the community.

Dixmoor Mayor Fitzgerald Roberts said he could now breathe a sigh of relief.

“Something that has been long overdue for years,” said Roberts. “It's so personal because it hurts to know that individuals can't have water when they need it.”

However, to replace the entire system, officials estimate they will need around $50 million. That's a lot more than the $2.2 million secured for this one project.

“We have a lot of other projects going on right now. There are lead pipe and meter replacements in the works,” said Roberts.

Cook County Council President Toni Preckwinkle was among those who attended the groundbreaking Monday morning.

“And we know firsthand that once infrastructure falters, other quality of life issues will be compromised,” he said.

Roberts says there have been about 15 to 20 breaks in recent years.

“Four of them are very serious. The people here with the water flowing, they have been through a lot of terrible things,” he said.

One main water cut left the entire village without running water for two weeks, at one point.

“It's hard to wash a child with baby wipes,” said resident Jamie Gushie.

“I have a mother who is 83 years old. We have to flush pots and wash dishes. We just do the best we can,” said another resident, Carla Moon.

Officials say the project will be completed next March, but expect water to be running on Dixmoor by the end of this year.

“Reliable water access is people's lifeblood. When the water system breaks, everything shuts down. Businesses, schools, and public services are unable to perform critical operations and residents are unable to continue with their daily lives,” the US Representative said. Robin Kelly.