Devon Ave. sewer work resumes
by KEVIN GROSS
Work on the sewer project in Devon Avenue that has caused problems for motorists and businesses in downtown Edgebrook has progressed west of the Metra tracks, as tunneling work under the tracks has restarted following delays.
Brian Robin, a constituent services aide at Alderman Margaret Laurino’s (39th) office, said that tunneling delays from July to mid-August resulted from the accidental striking of a Canadian utility company’s fiber optic cable that was in the Metra right-of-way.
"They (workers) had to stop, leave the machine down there because they couldn’t touch it with the nearby conduits. It was important, federally related, and there was a stop work order," Robin said. "But according to the new project scope they are on time."
Robin and Alderman Anthony Napolitano’s (39th) chief of staff Chris Vittorio said that the $5 million project sewer project is slated for completion in November.
"They are already almost at the project’s western terminus (Caldwell Avenue) right now," Vittorio said. "It’s really just a little ways west of the tracks."
Vittorio said that the alderman’s office has received no indication of additional intersection or street closures planned in the future, and that traffic should be able to flow in all directions, albeit in a limited capacity due to temporary lane closures. "From now on they will intend to maintain traffic flows," Vittorio said. Also, motorists can now turn left onto northbound Central from eastbound Devon, he said.
If underground work is completed on schedule, the remainder of work will involve restoration and resurfacing which should be accomplished primarily with single-lane closures, according to Vittorio and Robin.
Despite much of the underground work having finished east of the tracks, much of Devon remains torn up.
"It looks like they hopped over the tracks, but (Devon) is still torn up east," Edgebrook-Sauganash Chamber of Commerce executive director Jennifer Herren said. "Work between Central and Lehigh Avenues is still not cleaned up."
Robin said that much of the restoration of Devon would be done in one phase, as crews are going to be resurfacing side streets such as Leoti and Spokane avenues.
"Machines going back and forth between blocks would tear up streets that they would’ve just repaired," he said.
In the meantime, area merchants eagerly hope for a return to normal conditions before the Christmas shopping season. In response to lost profits from the construction, the chamber and others business groups held a "Save our Shops" block party on Sept. 1 in order to drum up support of businesses.
"What I can say for sure is that the finishing of the project can’t happen soon enough," Herren said.