Lanes on Edens Expressway closed

April 4, 2008 3:23:35 PM PDT
The Edens Expressway is anything but express as a major rehab project gets underway. Three lanes of traffic are now down to just two in each direction and there aren't many alternates around the mess.

The closures began just before the Friday morning rush hour. There are 14 miles of barricades up, from Lawrence Avenue all the way to Lake-Cook Road, and they'll remain up through the end of the summer.

Patience is going to be important until the end of September. This is a $43 million project that no doubt will create a lot of headaches.

"It's unbearable, it's very slow, but what can you do?" said Joel Delacruz.

Now that winter appears to finally be on its way out, it's time for the other season in Chicago: construction. The Illinois Department of Transpiration started a rehab project along the Edens Friday. Traffic is down to only two lanes in both directions from Lake-Cook Road down to the junction, about 14 miles. Friday, even in the middle of the afternoon, traffic was already starting to back up.

"I just came through it and I got to go back through it. I came through for something and it didn't work out and now I got to go back through it. It's crazy," said James McBridge.

Crews will be patching and resurfacing the expressway and fixing six bridges in need of repair, including a 60-year-old bridge on Golf Road, because much of the work will happen at the same time.

IDOT officials say it's best to just close a lane on both sides.

"We're telling people to use public transportation, number one, and alter your travel times as much as you can to stay out of rush hour. But, if you're planning on traveling in rush hour, double your travel times," said Juris Velkme, IDOT construction supervisor.

Some motorists are already planning alternate routes. Cicero Avenue is one option, but there is a good chance that road will be backed up as well.

Commuters will have no choice but to leave earlier.

"It's going to be a major pain. I have to find to ways to get to where I'm going. I have some ideas, but everyone's going to be doing the same thing. We'll have to live through it," said Harold Farber.

During this construction project the speed limit goes from 55 mph down to 45 mph. Illinois Police say they're going to be strictly enforcing this, but they will not be pulling people over. They will be using high-tech surveillance devices and people will be getting tickets in the mail.

More information at www.edensi94.com.


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