The cynical cliche about the seasons in this part of the world — that there are two of them, winter and road construction season — rings with a bit more sting than usual this year. Winter may have gone out at last like a lamb with the end of March, but road work and other public projects are roaring to life this month, lion-style.
Progress on the long-term upgrades along Route 59 are continuing, with short- and long-term lane closures affecting travel times for the 50,000 vehicles that use the north-south corridor between Aurora Avenue and Ferry Road each day. Unfortunately for those drivers, things are likely to worsen before they improve.
“Although work on the project has continued through the winter months with some lane closures and corresponding impacts to traffic flow, this next phase will produce significant delays which have not been experienced so far by motorists,” said Allison Albrecht, a communications specialist in the city manager’s office, in an email.
Among the new snarls along the three-mile segment of highway will be reduction to one lane in each direction at the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railway underpass from North Aurora Road to Meridian Parkway through the end of 2014.
“Lane reductions will also be implemented at intersections along the corridor, resulting in significant delays to east-west travel along impacted local streets, including Aurora Avenue/New York Street, Jefferson Avenue/Liberty Street, North Aurora Road and Diehl Road,” Albrecht said.
As always, drivers are urged to give themselves extra time if their routes will take them through the area. The $85 million Illinois Department of Transportation undertaking, which also will bring complete reconstruction of the interchange at Interstate 88, is scheduled for completion in fall 2015.
The heavily traveled state road’s ongoing improvements aren’t the only local story writ large in merge-alert signs and orange striped barrels. From crackfilling and crosswalk improvements in Tallgrass to replacement of a water main near Fourth Avenue and Loomis Street, heavy machinery will be at work all across Naperville during the upcoming season. Here are a few details of the more impactful endeavors — some of which are under way now, while others will begin in the coming weeks.
Water Street parking deck
A key element of the Water Street redevelopment project set to begin by mid-year, the parking deck will add 550 spaces to the downtown. Improvements along the Riverwalk, and reconstruction and renovation of Water and Webster streets, also are in the plans. Start dates have not yet been announced; once work is under way, Water Street will be closed but the remaining buildings will be accessible.
Main Street rebuild
Drivers leaving the Van Buren parking deck still can drive only west on Van Buren Avenue between Washington and Main streets, and Main remains closed between Van Buren and Benton Avenue. The limitations are part of the $30 million office/retail Main Street Promenade East project and are expected to continue through September.
95th-Knoch Knolls signal
Slated for completion between July and October, a new traffic light is being added at the crossing, part of the much-larger $26.5 million Will County-led project that is extending 95th Street east over the DuPage River to connect with Boughton Road, due to be done by the end of the year. Some lane closures will be implemented during the day while workers are on the job.
Bike trail maintenance
The Modaff Bikeway will undergo sealcoating, crack repair and hole-filling during April and May. Drivers aren’t expected to encounter any inconvenience, and after a closure of one to two weeks, the trails will be open for the duration of bike-riding season.
East side resurfacing
Delays are expected when Naper Boulevard, and three smaller stretches of road east of it, receive new surface treatment. Part of the city’s $11.6 million annual street maintenance program, the project will affect Naper between Chicago Avenue and Gartner Road. Keim Road will be repaired and resurfaced between now and July, while Eton and Bakewell lanes are in line for similar work from July until October. Daytime lane closures are planned.
Alleyways from Washington Street to Center Street and Ogden Avenue to Seventh Street will be reconstructed, under supervision of Public Works crews, during June. Alley users can expect to be affected, but surrounding traffic should flow normally.
Fifteen parking lots are scheduled for maintenance work and improvements on the city’s two-year cycle, including several at public safety facilities. Among those that will affect drivers are the Riverview and Riverwalk lots downtown, where workers will be on the job between mid-April and late May; and the Kroehler and Parkview commuter lots, slated for work from June until early August.
The most current information about local road projects can be found on the city of Naperville’s interactive online map: gis.naperville.il.us/mashups/construction/. Residents also can remain up to date on nearby projects by registering in the city’s public communications network, Naper Notify; visit www.napernotify.com.
For additional road work details, visit www.naperville.il.us/alertsprojects.aspx. And for more on the Route 59 project, go to www.dot.il.gov/ilrt59/index.html.