Construction season begins in Chicago

April 1, 2010 2:52:13 PM PDT
Drivers should be prepared to put on the brakes as major road work gets under way. Lane reductions and detours will be in effect at least through this summer. Several major road construction projects are here. The roadwork is being funded in part by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The one road construction project that will affect motorists from accross the city and western suburbs is the resurfacing of 27 miles of the Eisenhower Expressway.

"I won't be taking it anymore soon," said Alberto Guerrero. "I will have to take the streets. This is ridiculous."

However, the Eisenhower project was delayed Thursday, giving drivers a bit of a reprieve, but that won't last.

"One of the contractors is finishing up a project on I-355. Once they're done there, we'll be able to go to work on the Ike," said IDOT spokesperson Marissa Kollias.

People who live and work downtown will have to find other ways to get around. At the stroke of midnight early Thursday, new barriers went up on the Eisenhower Expressway leading to and from the old post office.

And there's rehab work on the Congress Bridge. Work on the bridge will take about two years and involves lane closures.

Upper and Lower Wacker Drive are also being rebuilt between Randolph and Congress. That project is expected to be done in 2012.

Lower Wacker, while flowing normally Thursday, already has some ramp closures in place. Starting Monday, it will be reduced to just one lane in each direction.

"That will be intended for local traffic only. So, it won't be a thoroughfare, say, to get from north of the river to Congress. It will just be to give access to buildings and loading docks," said Brian Steele, a spokesperson for CDOT.

"You know, it is typical Chicago. We are going to tear them all up at one time, you know, Wacker, the Ike," said one motorist.

Read I-290/Loop Construction Notes

Besides all the work being done in the city, construction work also began Thursday on two major interstates.

On I-57, seven miles of road will be patched and resurfaced from 175th street to Steger Road. The $12 million project should be done by the end of July.

On I-80, six miles of road will be seeing the same work, which will go from the Tri-State Tollway to Harlem Avenue. That $16 million job should be done by mid-July.

There will be weekend and overnight lane closures for both the I-57 and I-80 projects.