At a press conference in Englewood Friday, CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein announced a $4.1 million project to repave roads under 14 viaducts in 13 different wards across the city (average cost $250,000 per viaduct).

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He explained that seeking federal funding for this project would free up more locally generated funding for neighborhood street repair and repaving projects.  The entire project is federally funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

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Crews are doing complete road reconstruction on approximately 4,500 linear feet of roadway at the following locations (see map below):

  • 600 W Englewood Ave
  • 1130 E 79th St
  • 3600 W 60th St
  • 8125 S Elliott Ave
  • 600 W 64th St
  • 1530 S Loomis St
  • 1530 S Racine Ave
  • 7500 S Morgan St
  • 7500 S Peoria St
  • 4815 W Wilson Ave
  • 2200 W 83rd St
  • 730 E 71st St
  • 400 W 29th St
  • 6400 S Dorchester

Work at each site is being done in a 30 day time frame, and includes: demolition of the existing roadway, curbs, gutters and sidewalks; any needed repair and replacement of sewer lines and other utilities; sidewalk replacement; ADA curb ramps; and complete reconstruction of the road.  The new construction will be all concrete, with a 6″ reinforced sub-base and 4″ top surface. (This configuration will last longer than standard asphalt.) Work at the first site began on March 19, and the final site is to be finished on September 14.

Klein said, “The existing roadways at these locations looked like Swiss cheese. They are some of the worst viaducts in the city.” He emphasized the public safety aspect of reconstruction projects, because they eliminate hazards for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.

This project will be complemented by work to be done under a new 2 year CDOT plan to add pedestrian safety improvements, including countdown timers and leading pedestrian intervals at more stoplights, and increased educational efforts to help solve the problem of pedestrian accidents and fatalities.

A few reporters asked Klein about the proposal to change the speed limit for residential streets to 20 mph.  He expressed a wish that this proposal would open a constructive dialogue with aldermen and residents about pedestrian safety. He talked about the pedestrian survival rates after collisions with vehicles at various speeds, and the need to protect our most vulnerable road users (see below).

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Page 22 from the Chicago Forward CDOT Action Agenda shows a graphic indicating the likelihood a person will survive a collision with an automobile at certain speeds.

Klein also mentioned that a similar viaduct repaving project is in the works for 2013.  Details for that project are not yet available.

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View 2012 CDOT viaduct projects in a larger map

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jstoner John Stoner

    Missing are 2500 W 21st, 23rd, 24th and 25th street underpasses, which can only be described as ‘lunar.’  Led me to coin the phrase ‘rough as a West Side underpass.’

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      I haven’t looked into how these locations were chosen. 

    • http://twitter.com/aka60643 AKA60643

      “Lunar” is a very appropriate description for those underpasses.  I’m too familiar with them. I would definitely consider them among the very worst in the city.

      I asked Klein whether the 24th St. underpass was on the list for 2013, and he said he wasn’t sure whether the 2013 list had been determined yet.  Seems that 24th or 21st would be the most logical targets in that area since those streets have stoplights at Western and are suitable as local bike routes.There’s a far south side viaduct (Vincennes nr. 83rd) that should have been on this year’s list, along with one of the Little Village viaducts you mention – something to follow up on. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Hagglund/1381355153 Tom Hagglund

    I’ve always heard that the problem was that the railroads owned the bit of road beneath their trestles, not the city, which is why they are often still paved with brick with bits of old streetcar track and much disrepair.  Is this not the case still?

    • Anonymous

      No, CDOT (sometimes IDOT on a state jurisdiction route or Cook County on a county  jurisdiction route) is generally responsible for roadway maintenance under viaducts.  The issue is generally that vertical clearances are already too low.  Adding a layer of asphalt would only make it worse.  So really they need to reconstruct the whole roadway.  However, that is more expensive, especially on these old streets with bricks, streetcar tracks, and collapsed sewers.  They’re just way behind in their maintenance program, not that there really is a set program.  

  • Anonymous

    Seems like old news.  According to the City, this is coming out of $100 million awarded to the CREATE Program.

    http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/bridge/news/2012/may/cdot_repairing_andresurfacingroadwaysunderrailroadviaducts.html

    I think this is the same $100 million that was awarded in 2010:http://www.createprogram.org/press_releases/feb17-2010.pdf 

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      This is news to me.

      As for the CREATE connection, tt doesn’t seem like fixing roads under railroad viaducts is the most appropriate use of funds that are supposed to be used to reduce congestion among freight, passenger, and transit trains as well as their grade crossings with roads.

      • Anonymous

        The $5 million for viaducts was in the TIGER application in 2009, so the money was specifically approved for this purpose.

        • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

          Thanks for the insight.