Lawrence Ave. opens to drivers
by BRIAN NADIG
Eastbound Lawrence Avenue near the Kennedy Expressway is expected to reopen for traffic on Christmas Eve after being closed since late summer as crews have been digging a 230-foot drop shaft as part of a Deep Tunnel storm water management project.
The project is intended to tie local sewers to the Deep Tunnel. Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that the project should reduce basement flooding.
The project, which has required the use of explosives, is not expected to be completed until December of 2015, but will no longer will be a need to keep eastbound Lawrence closed to traffic at Lavergne Avenue, Brugh said. The parking lane on Lawrence near the work site will continue to be closed throughout the the project.
The $25 million project has led to traffic on eastbound Lawrence being detoured between Milwaukee Avenue and Cicero Avenue. The westbound lanes have remained open.
Work also recently started on installing two 65-foot drop shafts as part of the project. Explosives will not be used to dig of the drop shafts, which will be used to place tunneling equipment under ground, Brugh said.
The shorter drop shafts are being installed at the intersection of Avondale and Lavergne avenues and in the 4400 block of Lavergne, and through traffic is prohibited at those locations. There is access from Lavergne to Saint John’s Lutheran Church’s parking lot at Montrose and Lavergne avenues.