Construction begins at Damen, Elston, Fullerton intersection

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Work begins Thursday at a dangerous six-corner intersection on Chicago's Northwest Side. Where Damen, Elston and Fullerton meet will become three, separate, light-controlled intersections.

"No intersection will ever really be perfect or up to, like, an A level, with the amount of traffic that we have coming through here. There's more than 70,000 cars that come through here per day. So, what we're trying to do is bring it from a level F to level C and hopefully better," Alderman Scott Waguespack said.

When construction is complete, Elston will be re-routed to the north of the existing intersection.

Starting Thursday night after the evening rush, traffic will be reduced to one lane in both directions on Damen and Elston to accommodate demolition crews that are tearing down part of the building at 2020 West Fullerton. The city is still negotiating the use of some land owned by Vienna Beef.

"When I try to turn left on Elston from here I constantly get stuck and have to wait through whole lights because these cars are getting backed up. So, if they fix that it might be worth it, I guess," Carl Gustafson said.

Drivers should expect additional lane closures, which will be announced in late June or early July. While the intersection will be open to traffic during construction, drivers should expect delays.

"I don't drive a car through here. I ride a bike. As long as I can get through, it doesn't bother me," Laurence Brazeau said.

The $60 million project is not expected to be complete until the end of 2016. Until then, drivers can use Diversey, Ashland, Clybourn, Webster and North avenues as alternate routes.
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