PBC Accelerates Michigan Avenue Roadwork

Terry Levin, (312) 744-9277

The Public Building Commission voted Monday to accelerate the schedule of the Michigan Avenue construction now underway, with the hope of shaving five months from the length of the roadwork.

Originally scheduled to end by Thanksgiving 2002, the lane reductions on Michigan Avenue between Adams and Van Buren now will be finished by the end of next June, according to the new schedule formalized by the PBC board.

Achieving this faster schedule required adding two hours to each workday-ending at 5:30 p.m. instead of 3:30 p.m.-and extending the work to Saturdays, according to PBC executive director Eileen Carey. These extra hours will add about $1.5 million to the construction costs, 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 wonderfully 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.

Accelerating the work will allow Michigan Avenue to be entirely open next summer, easing traffic congestion during the summer festival and tourism 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 half 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 now is slated for completion by the first week of November-about three weeks early-and work on the west half of Michigan Avenue will then begin. At that point, Jackson Boulevard between Wabash and Michigan also will be closed except to local traffic.

More significantly, the accelerated schedule calls for the west half of the roadway to be finished by April instead of June; the center median work finished in May instead of late August 2002; and the final roadwork done by the end of June instead of 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 should reopen on both sides of Michigan by June 24; and the 1,300-space underground garage will open in September 2002.

All 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 visit the agency’s web site at www.pbcchicago.com, 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 is (312) 494-6712.

For more information on this project, contact the PBC at (312) 744-3090 or click here.

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