Naperville road work ahead
Naperville’s traditional summer celebrations are over, but a major downtown street upkeep project has yet to commence.
Starting next week, lane closures will greet motorists using Washington Street between Edward Hospital and the Metra rail station on Fourth Avenue, thanks to resurfacing work set to begin Monday. The project is expected to continue until the middle of October.
“It will be a somewhat disruptive project to the downtown, but will come with some great benefits once it is complete,” said Allison Albrecht, communications specialist with the city manager’s office, in an email.
The 1.2-mile project area hasn’t been resurfaced in 13 years, Albrecht said.
Planned to take place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, the work will include restriping the roadway and curb and sidewalk repairs in addition to the resurfacing. Improvements to the sidewalks at School Street and Jefferson, Hillside and Martin avenues will bring the walkways into compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Enhanced crosswalks, including decorative treatments at Van Buren and Jefferson avenues, also are planned as part of the $800,000 project.
Downtown merchants may be apprehensive about the irritation brought by construction, but Katie Wood doesn’t think it’s necessary.
“It’s something we’ve not done in over a decade, so it’s something we need to do,” said Wood, executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance, who emphasized that shoppers shouldn’t be deterred by the street work.
City staff and the DNA have been working to emphasize the need to continue patronizing downtown businesses, particularly those on Washington Street.
“For the duration of the project, on-street parking along Washington Street will be removed not only to provide a safe work environment but to also help traffic flow moving north and south on Washington Street,” Albrecht said.
Wood acknowledged that the challenge is a little greater for several business owners on Washington who have recently opened their doors.
“It’s not the best time for them to be dealing with this, but they’re doing so with a smile on their faces,” Wood said.
Even on a construction-free day, finding a place to park in the retail core can leave drivers with frayed nerves. Wood said her suggestion during the road work is the same as always.
“Our best advice is really to find your way to the parking deck,” she said. “In the time they spend looking for parking, they could be having an appetizer or trying on their third outfit.”
She and city staff are confident that the results will make a few weeks of inconvenience well worthwhile.
“We’re all in this together,” Wood said. “And we know this is something that in the end will unify the downtown, make the sidewalks better and improve the experience for people who visit.”