Comment period on Kennedy plan over
by MARIO LEKOVIC
The public comment period for a proposal to install six noise barrier walls along the Kennedy Expressway and to install a fourth lane of traffic in each direction between Cumberland Avenue and Harlem Avenue closed on Feb. 27, but it is not known if the project will be approved.
The project is estimated to cost $42.2 million, but funding has not been identified.
Jae Miller of the Illinois Department of Transportation said the project is not funded under the department’s proposed multimodal transportation improvement program for Fiscal Years 2014 to 2019. Design approval of the project is expected this spring.
The project would add an auxiliary lane to eastbound Interstate 90 between Cumberland Avenue and the Harlem Avenue exit ramp. A westbound auxiliary lane would be added from the Harlem Avenue entrance ramp to Canfield Avenue.
A collector-distributor road is proposed for Cumberland Avenue traffic and for traffic going to westbound Interstate 190.
Minor changes will be made to the ramps at Cumberland Avenue, Canfield Avenue and Harlem Avenue to tie into the widened pavement.
"Noise walls were found to be reasonable along both sides of I-90 between Cumberland Avenue and west of Harlem Avenue," Miller said.
Whether noise walls should be installed is being decided by residents living near the expressway who would experience a significant reduction in noise levels if one is built. At at least 33 percent of the residents of the affect area must respond, and at least 50.1 percent of those who respond must vote favorably in order for the walls to be built.
"The majority of residents I hear from are always interested in any proposal that can reduce congestion and improve traffic safety," said Jason Hernandez, an aide Alderman Mary O’Connor (41st). "Some residents living along the highway have expressed concerns about the proposed noise wall, while others welcome any opportunity to mitigate highway noise."
"It’s important that all residents who received a benefited receptor viewpoint form fill it out and turn it in if they support the erection of a noise wall along the highway," Hernandez said.