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04/07/2010

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!

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Comments

The Eisenhower has the lanes block off and traffic patterns changed daily, but not a shovel has been place to do repairs. Why are they blocking traffic and doing no work?

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