WEST RIDGE — Work is underway on the final two stages of a $15 million streetscape project that spans 20 blocks of West Ridge's bustling Devon Avenue.
Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) and the city's Department of Transportation last week announced beautification and safety features will be installed along the route's last two legs: Kedzie to Sacramento, and Western to Leavitt.
The transportation department is currently finishing up work between California and Rockwell and expect to have the streetscape completed before summer 2018.
Work has already wrapped up on blocks between Sacramento and California and Rockwell to Western.
Tax-increment financing district money covered most of the project's costs, which includes wide sidewalks with ramps, intricate and artistic designs painted at intersections, new curbs and gutters, improved lighting, benches, bike racks, garbage cans, planters, more crosswalks and landscaping.
The project is meant to "improve the unique experience of Devon Avenue" — one of the city's most ethnically and culturally diverse thoroughfares, Silverstein said.
In 2014, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the makeover was "30 years in the making."
Ultimately, Emanuel said its purpose was to enhance the neighborhood's "quality of life" as well as spur economic development and create a safer environment.
“With new lighting, landscaping widened sidewalks and clearly marked intersections, we are making the neighborhood safer and more inviting for everyone who lives and shops along this Devon Avenue,” he said of the project last week.
During construction, Devon won't close to traffic, though parking will be restricted within work zones.
These decorative gateways will be among features added in the final two legs of the project. [Chicago Department of Transportation]