IRVING PARK — After celebrating American independence over the holiday weekend, Irving Park residents will wake up on Monday to discover their liberty seriously curtailed by road construction on Milwaukee Avenue.
The southbound lane between Addison Street and Kilpatrick Avenue near Irving Park Road will be closed to through traffic from July 8 through Dec. 1, when work halts for the winter.
The northbound lane will remain open for the duration. Southbound traffic will be diverted at Irving Park to Cicero Avenue, then east along Addison.
Construction will resume in spring 2014 and likely wrap up in August, according to an email from Pete Scales, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation.
The lengthy time frame is the result of the city fixing a myriad of ills in one fell swoop.
"This is rebuilding almost all of the infrastructure," said Owen Brugh, chief of staff for Ald. John Arena (45th).
The project includes a number of big-ticket items: water main replacement, new sewers with increased capacity to help alleviate flooding, and raising of viaducts to 14 feet to better accommodate trucks. A pedestrian refuge island will improve access to the Metra Grayland Station near Milwaukee and Kilbourn avenues, according to the city.
The street, sidewalks, curbs and gutters will be resurfaced, and new trees, benches, trash cans and light posts will provide the finishing touches.
Though Brugh said "it's certainly going to be a nice street," the timing of the project came as a surprise to the alderman's office, as well as residents and business owners, who were informed of the pending construction and accompanying lane closure just days before the Fourth of July.
"We didn't get a tremendous amount of notice," said Brugh. "We were not as aware as we would like to be."
Scales explained that the start date of the road construction was dependent on the completion of utility work, still under way during the week of July 1.
"So we weren't able to set a firm date way ahead of time," he said.
The Addison-to-Kilpatrick strip is actually the third leg of a multi-phase revamp of Milwaukee Avenue. What the city calls "Milwaukee No. 1" took place between Gale Street and Montrose Avenue; "Milwaukee No. 2" extended improvements south to Kilpatrick.
"It has been widely known in the community that the construction will continue south down Milwaukee Avenue over a number of years," Scales said.