The roadwork reducing Michigan Avenue traffic to two lanes in each direction between Adams and Van Buren reaches its halfway point Monday (Jan. 7) as the project’s accelerated schedule keeps it on target for the road construction to be completed in June.
Also, during removal of the existing Michigan Avenue pavement as part of this project, unrelated damage was discovered beneath Jackson Boulevard just west of that intersection which must be repaired by the city starting later this month, according to the Public Building Commission (PBC).
The Michigan Avenue roadwork-which already had Jackson closed on both sides of that intersection-is part of the reconstruction of the Grant Park South underground parking garage that extends beneath those streets, PBC executive director Eileen Carey explained. The 39-year-old garage was in such need of repair that the street above had to be shored up at some points to support the surface traffic.
This road construction began last July and originally was scheduled to end this Thanksgiving, but Mayor Richard M. Daley-who also chairs the PBC-authorized an accelerated pace so local merchants and other businesses would not have a second summer of street construction outside their doors, Carey said.
Barring any significant weather-related delays, all the roadwork should be completed by June 24. The Grant Park South garage itself, with 1,300 parking spaces, is scheduled to re-open by early fall.
It was during removal of the old Michigan Avenue pavement that the damage was found under Jackson-a large pocket of empty space created by the movement of backfill under the street. There also are signs of a previously undetected water leak in the immediate vicinity that apparently contributed to the backfill movement.
This pocket of empty space-which was about 14 feet deep and immediately was filled with sand as a temporary repair-had been developing over a period of years and is not related in any way to the Michigan Avenue roadwork, according to an examination by the PBC and the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Since Jackson already is closed to vehicle traffic, the only effect on the public of this new repair work is that pedestrians on the west side of Michigan Avenue will not be able to cross Jackson exactly at the corner, but instead will have to walk several dozen feet down Jackson to bypass the new excavation before crossing.
All of the sidewalks on Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard will remain open, since the Jackson work will be confined to the street itself. The work is scheduled to begin on Monday, Jan. 14, and is estimated to take about four or five weeks.
Doing the Jackson repairs at the same time as the Michigan Avenue roadwork should be much less disruptive to local businesses than waiting until the Grant Park South Garage project is completed.
This new repair will not cause any delay in the garage rebuilding project, Carey noted.
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.