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This week, WGN’s Sarah Jindra is talking to the region’s top transportation officials about the slowdowns commuters can expect on the roads and rails this summer and beyond.  In Tuesday’s piece, she sits down with CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld to discuss the big projects in the City of Chicago.

Here’s a look at the major projects to watch for:


Western/Belmont/Clybourn Reconstruction

In 2016, crews demolished the deteriorating Western Ave viaduct at Belmont/Clybourn.  It is now a 5-way intersection with lane closures still in place for the remainder of the work along Western and Belmont.  In addition to removing the viaduct, crews are also rehabbing the Western bridge over the Chicago River and reconstructing Western from just north of the Kennedy at Jones to Waveland.  Lane closures will remain in place until the project is complete by early August. At that time, commuters will see three lanes of traffic in each direction on Western during peak travel times.  At off peak times, the third lane will become a parking lane.



Reconstruction of this intersection started in 2015 to resolve safety and congestion issues due to three closely placed signals.   The realignment of Elston is complete and work at Fullerton and Damen is scheduled to be complete by early August.


Navy Pier Flyover

CDOT is currently building a pedestrian flyover bridge near Navy Pier so bicyclists and pedestrians don’t have to fight for space along the Lakeshore Drive bridge sidewalk.  The new flyover will connect the lakefront path from the Chicago River Bridge to Jane Addams Park. Construction began in 2014 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.



South Side Bridge Work

CDOT is working to improve five bridges (31st St, 35th St, 39th St, 41st St, 43rd St) to help connect people from the south side to the lakefront.

35th Street Bridge – New pedestrian bridge completed 2016

31st Street Bridge- Construction set to begin by the end of 2017 to replace the current road bridge; Complete by early 2019.

39th Street Bridge- Construction set to begin by the end of 2017 to replace the current road bridge; Complete by early 2019.

41st Street Bridge – Crews will break ground later this Spring; Complete by end of 2018.

43rd Street Bridge – Crews will break ground later this year; Complete by end of 2018.

Crews will break ground on the 41st St pedestrian bridge later this Spring

Lakeshore Drive Viaduct Work

-LaSalle Drive Viaduct:  Structural improvements and repairs will begin mid-summer.  Drivers can expect some lane closures on LSD for the work.  CDOT says it will work around peak rush hour to limit impacts to drivers.  Work is scheduled to take eight months to complete.

-Wilson Avenue Viaduct: Repair work will begin late Summer/early Fall.  No closures are anticipated on LSD, but drivers can expect lane closures on Wilson.

-Lawrence Viaduct: Repair work will begin this Fall.  No closures are anticipated on LSD, but drivers can expect lane closures on Lawrence.

North Lakeshore Drive Reconstruction

CDOT is working on future plans to reconstruct the north end of Lakeshore Drive from Grand Avenue to Hollywood Avenue.  Currently, the city is holding public meetings to hear from all stakeholders and the public.  CDOT says there are intersections, ramps and curves that are outdated and need to be redesigned for more efficiency and safer movement. Construction would still be several years away.  You can stay posted on project updates at the link below.


North Branch Trail Projects

Riverview Bridge: Work starts this Spring to build a pedestrian bridge crossing under Addison connecting California Park to Clark Park. Completion is scheduled for the end of 2019.

Irving Park Bridge:  Plans are also underway to extend that path further by building a pedestrian bridge under Irving Park Road to connect California Park and Horner Park.

Grand Avenue Construction

The reconstruction of Grand Avenue is underway between Pulaski and Chicago.  One lane will be maintained in each direction throughout the project with one exception: There will be a full closure at Homan for 5 weeks from late June to July for work under the rail viaduct.  Work is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year.


Other Initiatives:

-Smart Lighting: This Summer, CDOT will begin retro-fitting existing city lights with new LED lights that put out a whiter glow and last 3-5 times longer.

-Vision Zero: CDOT plans to release an action plan this year to improve traffic safety in Chicago with a goal of zero fatalities.  This Summer, watch for kick off events in communities with high rates of crashes.