Resurfacing due this year on North Lake Shore Drive, six other roadways

SHARE Resurfacing due this year on North Lake Shore Drive, six other roadways

A portion of North Lake Shore Drive targeted for a major overhaul in future years is among 61 miles of major Chicago roadways targeted for resurfacing this year.

The 61 miles are the first step in the city’s new annual standard of repaving at least 300 miles of roads each year — a target set in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2015 budget.

The first 61 miles include 1.5 miles of North Lake Shore Drive, from Grand to North Avenue. The stretch is part of a seven-mile long portion of the route — stretching from Grand to Hollywood — that is the focus of a state and city plan to “Redefine the Drive.”

Ideas kicked around so far for the North Lake Shore Drive overhaul include everything from putting a dedicated bus lane down the center of the thoroughfare, to adding high-speed rail, to installing a “lower Lake Shore Drive,” similar to Lower Wacker Drive.

But the North Lake Shore Drive overhaul is still in very preliminary stages and years away from completion, Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Peter Scales cautioned Monday.

The earliest construction on the 7-mile LSD project could begin is 2020 or 2021, depending on funding, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation said Monday night.

The 1.5 mile section identified for repaving this year is in “immediate need of resurfacing,” and that new pavement should last eight to 10 years, Scales said.

“We’ll get a lot of use out of this new surface,” Scales said. “We wouldn’t let the conditions deteriorate while we’re waiting for this longer project to come to fruition.”

The roughly $3 million Lake Shore Drive job is being bankrolled with federal and state funds, Scales said.

CDOT would coordinate any LSD repairs around the city’s busy schedule of downtown summer events and festivals, and always leave some lanes open in each direction during work, Scales said.

In 2014, CDOT, the Department of Water Management, private contractors and utilities combined to repave a record 343 miles of Chicago roadway, according to a CDOT news release.

Much of the work announced Monday — including the 1.5 miles of north LSD — is by federal (80 percent) and state (20 percent) funds, Scales said. Other work counted in this year’s 300-mile goal will include paving done by the Water Department following sewer work, paving completed by ComEd or Peoples Gas following utility work, and street repairs performed at aldermanic request.

Emanuel is “demanding better coordination” between city agencies and private utilities to ensure newly paved streets aren’t being torn up a second time for additional work, CDOT said in a news release. The city saved $23.3 million in 2014 by reducing project conflicts to avoid opening a street more than once for work, CDOT said.

Citizens who think a certain roadway in their ward needs resurfacing should contact their alderman before aldermanic menus of ward improvements are due this spring, Scales said.

Six other major roadways counted in the 61 miles due for resurfacing this year include:

  • 115th Street, from Vincennes Avenue to State Street, total 2.3 miles;
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, from Cermak Road to 37th Street, total 2 miles;
  • Wentworth Avenue, from Pershing Road to the Stevenson Expressway, total 1.6 miles;
  • Cicero Avenue, from Division Street to the Eisenhower Expressway, total 2.1 miles;
  • Irving Park Road, from Cumberland Avenue to Forest Preserve Avenue, total 1.3 miles;
  • Douglas Boulevard, from Independence Boulevard to Sacramento Drive, total 1 mile.

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