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On The Road to The Return of Construction

I can't begin to tell you how many people commented to me during the recent laborers strike, that driving on the Eisenhower sans construction was like a little slice of heaven!  To be honest, it made my life easier too, driving into the city at 3:00 am and not having to deal with overnight lane closures and delays. But I also knew, the longer the strike went on, we the motorists would pay for it at the back end.

Fortunately things were resolved within 3 weeks, and road crews are back on the job. Transportation agencies are assessing the damage this delay has had on project completion dates. I spoke with Eugene Joynt, IDOT's Bureau Chief of Construction, about the affect the work stoppage will have on major construction projects.

When I last spoke to IDOT, I was told 3 weeks wouldn't be enough of a delay to carry over projects into 2011. Is that still the case?

"The strike was't long enough to push the major projects into 2011."

How far into the year has the strike pushed those major projects (Eisenhower resurfacing and Congress Bridge reconstruction)?

"The revised completion date will be around Thanksgiving."

What will be the biggest impact to motorists as contractors try to catch up?

"The biggest impact to motorists will be southbound Rt. 53 into the inbound I-290, but this was in the plan - just different timing."

Will contractors be penalized with late fees for running past the scheduled completion date?

"Liquidated damages will be assess for contracts that are not completed within the allowed contract time. In accordance with our standard specifications applicable to all our contracts, if delays resulting from strikes or labor disruptions extending more than 5 calendar days, then the contractor is entitled to an extension of time. Since the strike lasted nearly 3 weeks, the contractors would receive and extension of time due to the strike."

What major contracts off the expressways will be most impacted by the strike?

"159th Street in Harvey and IL 59 in Shorewood/Joliet in Will County. 159th St. has extensive coordination with Metra and the CN RR and we are trying to complete pavement work prior to winter, as 159th St. has been closed with a detour for over a year.

IL 59 was previously delayed by utilities and there is a triple box culvert that needs to be constructed and new lanes paved. The schedule was very tight to get traffic on new lanes prior to the strike and we will need some help with the weather to complete it."

If you have questions about the strike's impact on roadwork in your area, post it on my blog and I'll try to get you an answer!


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What's going on with rt 83 from 63rd all the way to north ave with only one lane open. How long is this project going to last. HELP!!!

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