ROSCOE VILLAGE — Good news on a Monday: More lanes of traffic are opening on a portion of Western Avenue in the footprint of the Western-Belmont viaduct replacement project.
According to updates provided by Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) and Deb Mell (33rd), motorists can expect a couple of changes to traffic patterns this week:
• Added northbound and southbound lanes will be opened along the stretch of Western from the north end of the river bridge to Roscoe Street. Restrictions remain in place on left turns from Western Avenue onto Belmont and Clybourn.
• In the portion of the construction zone between Roscoe and Addison streets, work is now scheduled to move to the east side of Western Avenue, with traffic shifted to the west side. During this phase, crews will be installing a new curb and sidewalk on the east side.
The Western-Belmont viaduct was originally built to ease congestion around the Riverview Amusement Park, which closed in 1967.
The overpass was demolished in March, the first step in an 18- to 24-month project that will culminate in a grade-level five-leg intersection at the Western-Belmont-Clybourn junction.
The project's scope also encompasses: reconstruction of the Western Avenue bridge over the Chicago River, as well as reconstruction/resurfacing of Western Avenue between Waveland Avenue to the north and Jones Street to the south (Jones is south of Diversey).
For drivers: A third lane of travel will be added during peak hours and the plan provides for 80 new on-street parking spaces.
For pedestrians: Sidewalks will be widened to 13 feet, countdown signals will be installed at intersections and pedestrian refuge islands will be built at non-signaled crossings.
Here's the timetable:
• Stage One, four months: overpass removal, replacement of the Western Avenue bridge over the Chicago River, reconstruction of Western Avenue between the bridge and Roscoe Street.
• Stages Two and Three, eight months: reconstruction of the Western-Belmont-Clybourn intersection, resurfacing of Western from Waveland to Jones, traffic signal improvements, sidewalk widening and reconstruction.
• Stages Four and Five, four months: median construction, landscaping and parkway improvements.
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