Local commuters might want to start looking up train and bus schedules to get ready for the next several months of daily travel. That’s because the state is about to spend the better part of the next year resurfacing the Eisenhower Expressway, a project that spans 27 miles and will cost about $95 million.
If the weather cooperates, the Illinois Department of Transportation plans to start repaving Interstate 290 on April 1. The construction project is likely to snarl local traffic, with travel being condensed down to fewer lanes in both directions.
“It’s definitely going to be an inconvenience for a lot of travelers,” said David Powers, the spokesman for Oak Park Village Hall, who sent out a notice on Tuesday morning telling residents about the project. “But it’s something that’s been anticipated. They’ve been talking about it for the last couple of years.”
Altogether, IDOT is resurfacing 27 miles along I-290, from Thorndale Avenue to Interstate 90/94. The state is breaking construction up into several contracts, with Oak Park’s piece spanning from 9th Avenue in Maywood to Austin Boulevard.
Work on the 3.86 mile local stretch will start on April 1 and end Oct. 31, the same timeline that the rest of the I-290 resurfacing is on. IDOT also plans to redo all ramps, shoulders and interchanges, along with fixing up the bridge over the expressway on Desplaines and eight other bridges.
Stretches of I-290 with only three lanes, such as in Oak Park, will go down to two lanes during the entire day starting April 1. Other stretches with four lanes will be condensed to three lanes, said Oak Park Village Engineer Jim Budrick. Daytime lane closures are to fix up barrier walls along the expressway.
IDOT will begin repaving the Eisenhower after July 4, when it will switch to nighttime lane closures. Budrick expects lanes to start shutting down at 10 p.m., reopening at 5 a.m. each day.
Also starting in early July, Oak Park, Berwyn and Cicero are teaming up to start giving Roosevelt Road a facelift. The three communities are working together to brighten up the stretch of commercial road they share between Harlem and Austin.
In December, the three communities announced they were receiving $7 million in state and federal money for work on Roosevelt. Starting in July, they plan to add new curbs, sidewalks, planters and streetlights to make Roosevelt more pedestrian friendly. The work will take place between the curb and the property line and won’t shut down traffic, according to Budrick.
Oak Park plans to do a resurfacing of Roosevelt sometime in 2011, as the repaving that was done last year was only temporary to help better accommodate travelers while I-290 is repaved starting this spring.
IDOT has created a Web site for people to read updates about the project at www.dot.state.il.us/I290/index.html, as well as a hotline at 847-705-4110. They’re urging travelers to consider public transportation, alternate routes, carpooling and flexible work schedules to cope with construction delays.