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April 2010

On The Road to a Virtual Voyage!

I figured a  “Throwback Thursday” would be a most appropriate time to wax nostalgic and invite you to join me on my next virtual vacation!  This weekend I will set off on a wondrous adventure “across the pond”  touring southern England!  As if that weren’t fabulous enough, I’m traveling with my daughter Sara, just the two of us, as her graduation gift before she heads off to college next month! 

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  During my 25+ years at ABC7, many of you have watched Sara grow up over the years - here’s the nostalgic part - and during that time she has become an incredible traveler! 








She took her first cruise before she was 2 - at 4, she was climbing pyramids in Mexico!

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At 6, Sara accompanied me and my Mom on a trip to Spain - 3 generations in our mother country! At 10, Sara was sightseeing through ancient Greece; at 12 she experienced the glaciers of Alaska!

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                         Alaska july 26 to aug 5 2008 146 (2)


I took her to President Obama’s first inauguration - we explored the holy land together with members of our congregation.

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I chaperoned a high school choir trip to Ireland, and back in the states we took road trips to our national parks and the entire stretch of Rt. 66!  Sara’s 18th birthday with a destination party to the “Happiest Place on Earth!”

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I now invite you to join us on our next adventure, as I share our discoveries in London and many other historic places in the UK.  We arrive at Heathrow Airport Monday August 4th; posts on Facebook and Twitter soon to follow!  As this is an “interactive vacation,” feel free to make suggestions, ask questions or give advice - this is the first time in the UK for both of us!

 https://www.facebook.com/RozVaronABC7   https://twitter.com/rozvaronABC7 

One more thing - a heartfelt thanks to my incredibly understanding husband for giving Sara and I this special bonding time while he stays at home.  Besides, someone has to watch the dogs, right?!


Bon Voyage!




On The Road to Eisenhower Detours

Ike Parking lot 4-9-10

The way I look at it, you've got 2 choices - use an alternate route to avoid the Eisenhower construction delays or grab some patience, some good music, prepare for a L O N G commute, and stop complaining!  We're only a couple weeks into a season-long resurfacing project and delays are are ridiculously long and tempers are incredibly short!  That being said, I am here to help!

First, let me update the construction status.  In a nutshell, the inbound Ike/I-290 has 22 miles of continuous lane reductions from I-355 to Sacramento.  The outbound Ike/I-290 has 18 miles of lane reductions from Sacramento to I-88, and from York Road to I-355.  Before April is over, expect the entire 27 miles - Thorndale to the Circle Interchange - to be in full construction mode, with one lane closed in each direction.  **Silver lining - this resurfacing/bridge repair project will be done by late fall of THIS YEAR!

Not so for the Congress Bridge repair work, which is a TWO YEAR project!  Right now we have 2 lanes inbound and 1 lane outbound between Halsted and Wells.  Sometime next week IDOT expects to cross the inbound traffic onto the outbound side of the bridge so they can completely close the inbound or eastbound bridge and repair it this year.  You'll still only have 2 lanes inbound and one lane outbound until late fall.  In early 2011 they'll do the same thing all over again to repair the outbound, or westbound bridge.

2011 is also when the Wacker Drive reconstruction gets into full swing, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.  It's a lot for even me to digest!

By now, you're probably asking yourselves, so when is she going to help us get around this mess?!  Right now!

I've been monitoring the morning drive patterns, obviously while I'm on the air, but I've also been keeping an eye on the patterns and delays during the PM rush from home.  My observations tell me way too many of you are not using alternates, transit or driving!  I can see the shift - the Ike is bottle-necked, then it breaks loose and the Stevenson jams up!  Here are some suggestions...if your commute is somewhere between the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and downtown, try some of these options:  Randolph/Washington (portions are one-way), Roosevelt Road, Cermak or Lake St.  My personal fav is Lake Street because so many people don't like driving under the "el."

If you live in the western burbs, there are no 2 ways about it, your commute is just going to take longer, however, there's no point in sitting in stop and go traffic when mentally, it just feels better to be moving at 30 mph or so!  Again, try Roosevelt or Cermak to the south and North Ave. to the north.  The Kennedy  and Stevenson expressways can be good alternates in the early morning, but forget it in the afternoon

**Traffic Tip - the farther north or south of the Ike construction you go, the lighter the traffic volume** 

One more traffic note - North Avenue in Glendale Heights has lane reductions between Glen Ellyn Road/Main St. and Kuhn.  This is concrete patching and traffic light sensor installation work that is left over from a project that begin in fall of 2009.  IDOT says, weather permitting, they should be done by late May.

I always welcome suggestions from you, the motorist!  In the meantime, I'm heading out, OFF the Eisenhower!


On The Road to Eisenhower Delays...But When?!

Ike delay sign 4-6-10 
April 1st has come and gone, and still no lane closures on the main portion of the Eisenhower Expressway between the Tri-State Tollway and the Circle Interchange.  The signs have been up for weeks, warning us - the barricades have been laying on the shoulder ready to go, but so far, nada!  I know we've had several nights of rain, and that's a big part of the problem, but inquiring minds (and many motorists) want to know - when is this thing going to start????!

My main IDOT source, Project Implementation Engineer, Jacek Tyszkiewicz, always has the answers.  In a nutshell, and hopefully, without getting too technical, here's my understanding of what's going on.

The entire Eisenhower/I-290 project is broken up into 6 contracts.  As of this writing, 2 of those contracts still need to be executed (finalized).  Until that happens, the contractor cannot set up the road closures.  Since the contract at the far west end between I-355 and Rt. 83 was the first to be approved, that road work was in place on time.  The other contracts are broken up into sections:  Rt. 83 to to I-88 (at the Tri-State), I-88 to 9th Ave., 9th Ave. to Austin, Austin to Sacramento, and Sacramento to the Circle Interchange.  With any luck the last 2 contracts will be approved by the end of this week.  In the meantime, the other contractors are waiting for a break in the weather to begin closing lanes during the overnight period. 

It will take several days (or nights in this case) to get those closures in place, as crews need to patch and stripe the shoulders so traffic can drive on them.  Once the weather cooperates, you will begin to see the right lane closed on several stretches of the Eisenhower, as those contracts are approved.  With any luck, there will be a consistent right lane closure from Thorndale to the Circle Interchange within the next 2 weeks.

The other thing to watch for is a cross-over lane approaching the Congress Bridge.  Reason being, crews will completely close the eastbound bridge this year for repairs and move traffic (2 lanes east and one lane west) onto the westbound bridge through the fall.  The cross-over will happen just west of the old Post Office.  Tyszkiewicz tells me they've run into a couple issues with a bridge joint and the configuration of the barrier wall, creating a minor delay in the installation of the traffic shift.  Weather permitting, they hope to put that in place next week.

Even though we don't know exactly when all the closures will be in place, we DO know that once they are, the real test to Eisenhower motorists will begin!