Crawford Avenue construction expected to be finished by end of 2015
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
Chicago Tribune by Natalie Hayes Pioneer Press
For nearly two years, a Cook County-led construction project has forced drivers, local residents, and the nearby Lincolnwood School District 74 community to muster up extra patience as crews tore up the roadway and ripped up sidewalks along busy Crawford Avenue.
The total reconstruction of a mile and a half stretch of Crawford Avenue from Howard Street in Skokie to Devon Avenue in Lincolnwood is expected to wrap-up this by the end of this year, according to Andrew Letson, assistant to the Lincolnwood Public Works director.
The major aspects of the project are scheduled to be completed by the end of August, but crews will continue landscaping and restoring medians and parkways through the fall and spring.
The two-lane traffic pattern that has diverted motorists traveling in both directions to the east side of the street this year will continue through the duration of the project.
A slightly different traffic pattern started Monday, August 3, however. The Lincolnwood Public Works Department announced the closure of the two innermost lanes between Touhy and Wallen avenues starting Monday, and the two outermost lanes will be open instead.
The four-lane road has been reduced to two traffic lanes during the spring and summer months of 2014 and 2015 while project continues. When the new Crawford Avenue reopens this year with four newly-reconstructed traffic lanes, the road will be lined with new sidewalks and fire hydrants and LED streetlights.
"It's going to be a brand new road," Letson said. "The project will wrap up with the installation of the new streetlights along with landscape and restoration work on the median and the sides of the road."
Crawford Avenue is owned by Cook County, and county representatives have been working with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the villages of Lincolnwood and Skokie on plans to reconstruct the roadway for several years.
Since the construction period began in early 2014, drivers have had to navigate new traffic patterns and changing detours periodically set up at various points along Crawford Avenue, while residents living along the construction route dealt with water-shut-offs during the installation of the water main and closures of their driveways and some side streets.
Some lawns along Crawford Avenue were also torn up during construction while new sidewalks were put in, and Letson said new sodding would likely be put in to the torn-up areas in the fall when temperatures drop.
During the first part of the two-phase project in 2014, the entire east side of Crawford was reconstructed before the project shut-down in the winter months and resumed in the spring with the reconstruction of the west side of the road.
Crews have been repeating the work that was completed on the east side of the road since the final project phase began on the west side of Crawford Avenue in March.
Lincolnwood School District 74—which lies in the heart of the construction zone at Pratt and Crawford Avenues—has had to work with ongoing traffic challenges posed by the project. School officials plan to continue offering free bus service to families this year to reduce traffic volume during pick-up and drop-off times.
In Skokie's stretch of Crawford Avenue, the northbound and southbound traffic lanes from Howard to Oakton streets, and the northbound lanes from Devon Avenue to Howard Street were reconstructed last year.
This year, the southbound lanes from Devon Avenue to Howard Street are being reconstructed. Crews are conducting maintenance on the signals at the CTA crossing, along with median work, traffic signal upgrades, new street lighting, and sidewalk and drainage improvements, according to information on the village of Skokie's website.
Natalie Hayes is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press. Copyright © 2015,
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