Detours to double with construction bill

July 16, 2009 3:31:32 PM PDT
Now that the State Capitol Bill has passed IDOT is preparing to resurface the Eisenhower and rebuild Upper and Lower Wacker drives. If you think traffic on the Eisenhower is miserable now, just wait! Beginning spring of next year crews will begin a major resurfacing job along 27 1/2 miles of I-290!

"We'll be milling and resurfacing the Eisenhower Expressway from the Circle Interchange to the extension by Thorndale," said John Fortmann, IDOT engineer.

The work will be done in stages. For the first several months one lane will be closed in both directions while crews concentrate on bridge repairs. The remainder of the resurfacing will be done overnight, with completion scheduled for late fall - however, crews will also be doing a major overhaul on the Congress Bridge over the Chicago River...basically, where the Eisenhower ends. They'll repair the eastbound side in 2010 and the westbound side in 2011...traffic will be reduced to two lanes inbound and only one lane outbound both years!

At the same time the state starts work on the Eisenhower, the city will begin a massive project to rebuild the north-south portion of Upper and Lower Wacker Drive from Randolph all the way to Congress.

"It's a roadway that was built in 1955 and it's really outlived its useful lifespan and we've started to see some deterioration, so really now is the time to do reconstruction before further problems show up," said Brian Steele, Chicago Dept. of Transportation.

Next year crews will work on Lower Wacker. The major impact will be felt in 2011 and '12 when Upper and Lower Wacker will be rebuilt, in sections starting at Randolph. This project also includes the reconstruction of the Wacker-Franklin-Congress interchange with a safer design.

But wait...there's more! This spring the city will begin a street-scaping & road improvement project on congress parkway from Michigan Avenue to wells. To avoid a pinch point with the congress bridge work, that stretch will be reduced to two lanes eastbound and one lane westbound. Why so much at once?

"What we try to is get in and get out and the best way to stage traffic is to do it all at one time rather than come back and keep doing it year after year after year," said John Fortmann, IDOT engineer.

You've got 9 months to plan for 3 years of traffic nightmares.


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