Summer-long closures of two of the four Touhy Avenue ramps off the Edens Expressway are expected to end Aug. 30 when construction on the Touhy bridge wraps up more than a month later than planned.
The bridge rehab project over I-94, headed by the Illinois Department of Public Transportation, was scheduled to begin May 13, but a contractor working on the project went out of business, pushing the start date back until after Memorial Day weekend, and likewise the completion date back to the end of this month.
For most of the summer, the project has forced motorists to navigate around two exit closures — the exit ramp from the northbound Edens to westbound Touhy, and the ramp from the southbound Edens to eastbound Touhy.
A detour for the westbound Touhy exit takes drivers up northbound Cicero Avenue up to Touhy. The detour for the eastbound Touhy exit diverts drivers to eastbound Peterson Avenue, then over to northbound Cicero Avenue and back up to Touhy Avenue, according to Lincolnwood’s public works department.
Many motorists familiar with the construction area have learned to avoid traveling down Touhy Avenue between LeClaire and Keating Avenues, which has been narrowed down to one lane since the project started.
The lane closures have increased travel times, especially during rush hour, where a line of vehicles traveling down westbound Touhy from Lincoln Avenue often sit in a standstill.
Traffic flow over the bridge work area has improved during the second phase of the project, according to IDOT spokeswoman Jae Miller, although she did not provide estimates of travel times.
“In phase one of the project we saw some delays, and as always, traffic delays are more likely to occur during peak hours,” Miller said.
During the project, IDOT workers have been completing various bridge repair work, including a concrete overlay project to replace the surfacing of the bridge, according to Ashley Engelmann, assistant to the public works director.
Workers finished patching work on the bridge in late July, but a 21-day period is required for the bridge to fully dry before the final concrete overlay is applied, Miller said.
“That puts us at approximately Aug. 24 or 25 for the final overlay to occur,” Miller said. ”So right now we’re on schedule to complete the project by the end of the month.”