The current roadwork on Michigan Avenue between Adams and Van Buren will switch to the other side of the street starting with the morning rush hour on Monday, Oct. 29, the Public Building Commission of Chicago announced Thursday.
This move of the construction to the west half of Michigan Avenue will come about three weeks earlier than originally anticipated, thanks to an accelerated work schedule that will see all the roadwork completed next June-five months sooner than first planned, according to PBC executive director Eileen Carey.
Starting with the Oct. 29 morning rush hour, the two lanes of traffic on Michigan Avenue in each direction-now confined to the west half of the street-will shift to the east side as construction crews continue the rebuilding of the Grant Park South underground parking garage.
On the same morning, Jackson Boulevard west of Michigan Avenue will be closed where those two streets intersect, requiring eastbound traffic on Jackson in the Loop to detour at State or Wabash, Carey explained.
This means Jackson will be closed on both sides of Michigan Avenue-it’s been closed to the east of Michigan since late July-from Oct. 29 until next June’s completion of all the roadwork. Sidewalk access will not be impacted.
Both streets are under construction because they run atop the 39-year-old underground garage, which was in severe need of repair. Portions of Michigan Avenue already were being shored up from below when the project began last spring.
The accelerated construction schedule was instituted last month to minimize the inconvenience for local businesses and residents. The faster pace also will benefit all city and suburban commuters whose bus lines travel on that portion of Michigan Avenue, since stops at Jackson and at Van Buren have been removed during the lane-reduction period.
“Traffic has been moving better than expected since the roadwork began in July and the local merchants and residents have been wonderfully patient, but I know they’d like to see us finished as soon as possible,” Carey said.
Another reason to accelerate construction is to restore the street in time for Taste of Chicago-when millions of people converge on the lakefront in the space of a week-and the rest of the summer festival and tourism season.
Also, an early end to the Michigan Avenue roadwork will ease traffic congestion during the final stages of the Wacker Drive reconstruction and other concurrent roadwork.
For these reasons, the acceleration plan has been endorsed by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Department of Transportation and the CTA.
The faster pace will add about $1.5 million to the garage’s original $29 million construction cost, the money taken from the contingency fund in the overall $35 million budget. The accelerated schedule is being achieved by extending each weekday two hours, ending at 5:30 p.m. instead of 3:30 p.m., and adding Saturday work.
Starting on Oct. 29, CTA buses traveling east on Jackson through the Loop-which ordinarily would turn north or south onto Michigan Avenue–will be detoured at State Street, with southbound buses going to Congress Parkway and northbound buses detouring to Monroe Street.
All the Michigan Avenue stores and offices within the construction zone are remaining open during the roadwork, including such attractions as the Art Institute and the Chicago Symphony, along with the many popular stores and restaurants on that two-block stretch. The sidewalk along the west border of the construction site will not be closed or narrowed, allowing pedestrians full access to the businesses and offices.
Also remaining open are the city’s three other underground parking facilities: Grant Park North, East Monroe, and the new Millennium Park garage.
The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce continues