Southbound Milwaukee Avenue traffic at Irving Park to be rerouted for 5 months starting July 8
by BRIAN NADIG
Except for some local access, southbound traffic on Milwaukee Avenue between Irving Park Road and Addison Street will be rerouted from July 8 to Dec. 1 due to roadway construction.
Northbound traffic will be allowed, but the configuration of lane usage will vary during the project.
Most of the heavy construction will occur between Kilpatrick Avenue and Kilbourn Avenue, but southbound traffic will be detoured starting at Irving Park to either Pulaski Road or Cicero Avenue. Viaduct improvements, a new water main, a new sewer main and streetscape elements, such as decorative lampposts and benches, are planned.
Plans calls call for the roadway under viaducts at Kenton Avenue and Kilbourn to be lowered to allow for a 14-foot clearance.
The construction is part of the Milwaukee Avenue Improvement Project which calls for roadway improvements to Milwaukee between Gale Street on the north and Grand Avenue on the south. The project already has been completed in the Jefferson Park and Six Corners shopping districts.
Speaking to Old Irving Park residents on June 27, Alderman John Arena (45th) said that he was livid that the city Department of Transportation plans to roll out its campaign to inform businesses and residents of the lane closings only a week ahead of time and during the Fourth of July holiday week, a time when many people are away on vacation.
Arena said that before he became alderman in 2011, poor planning and communication forced some businesses to close when the roadway project occurred in Jefferson Park and that he intends to make sure that does not happen “on my watch.” Arena said that he is making sure that businesses maintain access to their properties, that cut-through traffic on side streets is limited and that there is proper signage directing traffic. He also said that he is asking that timing of traffic signals be adjusted at the intersections where traffic is being rerouted to in an effort to reduce traffic jams in those areas.
The department made the decision to prohibit southbound traffic because one of the viaducts on that stretch of Milwaukee is too narrow to allow a CTA bus in each direction to fit at the same time on one side of the viaduct, Arena said.
While the project will stop for the winter, it will resume in the spring for some repaving and landscaping work. Plans call or a portion of the street to have a concrete surface, which Arena said will last longer than typical pavement and help reduce standing water under the viaducts.