NORTH CENTER — That paving happening on Western Avenue? Don't get your hopes up people. It's got nothing to do with the much-awaited replacement of the pockmarked Western-Belmont overpass.
Construction along Western Avenue, stretching from School Street to the north and George Street to the south, is simply part of a street resurfacing project. Work is scheduled through Dec. 16, including curb and gutter removal and replacement, asphalt paving, bus pad concrete pavement construction and sidewalks compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
No demolition or repairs will be done to the overpass at this time, according to the office of Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th).
The overpass, which opened in 1962 as a way to ease congestion around the now defunct Riverview Amusement Park, has been labeled "deteriorating" and "structurally deficient" by the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Three years ago, CDOT unveiled its Western Avenue Improvement Project, which calls for, among other things, removal of the viaduct and construction of a five-leg, grade-level intersection at the convergence of Western, Belmont and Clybourn avenues.
In his latest newsletter to constituents, Pawar stated that demolition of the Belmont overpass and reconfiguration of the streetscape still are awaiting funding approvals, which aren't expected until 2015.
In the meantime, North Siders jonesing for a little wrecking ball action can look to their South Side counterparts in McKinley Park, where the teardown of the Ashland Avenue "flyover" ramp has begun.