City To Accelerate Michigan Avenue Construction

Terry Levin, (312) 744-9277

Chicago officials plan to slice five months off the length of the road construction on Michigan Avenue, which has caused lane reductions, by accelerating the construction schedule, the Public Building Commission of Chicago announced Thursday.

Originally to end around Thanksgiving 2002, the roadwork on Michigan Avenue between Adams and Van Buren now is scheduled for completion by the end of next June, said PBC executive director Eileen Carey.

Achieving this faster schedule will require adding two hours to each workday-which will end at 5:30 p.m. instead of 3:30 p.m.-and, for the first time, working on Saturdays, Carey explained. These extra hours will cost an estimated $1.5 million, which will come out of the project’s contingency fund.

“Although the roadwork has been proceeding well, with traffic moving better than expected and local businesses being thankfully patient with the noise, I’m sure everyone will be happy to see this construction end sooner rather than later,” Carey said.

The roadwork has reduced Michigan Avenue traffic to two lanes in each direction, along with the suspension of CTA bus stops through the construction zone.

The PBC-which has been constantly obtaining feedback from local businesses and residents since the roadwork began on July 23-consulted with the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Department of Transportation, the Mayor’s Office of Special Events and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce before recommending the work be accelerated.

Accelerating the work will allow Michigan Avenue to be entirely open next summer, easing traffic congestion during the summer festival season that attracts millions of visitors to the lakefront parks, museums, local businesses and other attractions.

The construction work on Michigan Avenue actually is part of the reconstruction of Grant Park South underground parking garage, which is nearly 40 years old and in great need of repair. The section of Michigan Avenue under construction runs atop the garage roof, as does the portion of Jackson Drive between Michigan and Columbus also closed for these repairs.

Currently, the east half of Michigan Avenue is under construction, with two-way traffic sharing the west side of the street-two lanes in each direction. Under the original construction schedule, the east side was to be completed by this Thanksgiving and traffic would move there while the west half is rebuilt.

Under the accelerated schedule, the east side is slated for completion by Nov. 11-about two weeks early-and work on the west half of Michigan Avenue is scheduled to begin Nov. 12. When that occurs, Jackson Boulevard between Wabash and Michigan also will be closed except for local traffic.

More significantly, the accelerated schedule will see the west half of the roadway reconstructed by April instead of June; the center median work finished by mid-May instead of late August 2002; and the final roadwork done by late June instead of late November 2002.

Except for finishing each project phase sooner, the operational plans will remain the same: the sidewalk on the west side of Michigan Avenue will remain open throughout construction; Jackson will reopen on both sides of Michigan by June 24; and the 1,300-space underground garage will open in September 2002.

All of the local businesses in the construction zone remain open throughout the project, as do the Grant Park North, East Monroe, and Millennium Park underground parking garages.

For more information on this project, contact the PBC at (312) 744-3090 or click here, where updated charts detailing each phase of the project have been posted.

Also, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce continues to operate a hotline to assist any business having problems with deliveries or other operational needs as a result of the construction. The hotline number<