ROSCOE VILLAGE — After years of delay, demolition of the crumbling Western-Belmont overpass is about to get underway and there's no getting around it — traffic is going to be ugly.
On Tuesday, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced the full closure of Western Avenue between Nelson and Roscoe, including the intersection at Belmont/Clybourn, beginning at 8 p.m. Friday March 4 and lasting through 5 a.m. Monday March 7.
That Monday morning, northbound Western will reopen on both sides of the intersection and southbound Western will reopen south of Belmont, the city said.
The southbound section of Western between Belmont and Roscoe won't reopen until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, March 8.
Though CDOT had originally anticipated a second full closure would be needed, an accelerated demolition schedule has reduced that plan to just this one closure.
Detours will be in place between Diversey and Irving Park Road, with traffic diverted to Ashland Avenue. This route is the recommended alternative throughout the construction project, which is expected to last for 18 months through summer 2017.
Following the weekend demolition, there will only be one lane of traffic open on Western in each direction for five months.
After five months, two lanes of traffic will be open in each direction until the project is completed.
Once construction wraps up, there will be three lanes in each direction on this stretch of Western during rush hour, as well as a five-leg grade-level intersection at Western/Belmont/Clybourn.
The overpass was built in 1961 to relieve congestion in the area, which was then home to the Riverview Amusement Park.
Riverview closed at the end of the 1960s, and the overpass remained, allowing drivers on Western Avenue to sail over the Belmont-Clybourn intersection.
The overpass fell into disrepair and changing design standards made replacing the viaduct less feasible than tearing it down.
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