Construction starts again on Roosevelt Road

Three communities hope to finish $9.5M street project by mid-November


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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

After taking a brief break during the doldrums of winter, a $9.5-million construction project on Oak Park's southern border is back in full swing.

Earlier this month, crews started work to replace the sidewalks and catch basins on Roosevelt Road on the Oak Park side between Harlem and Oak Park avenues. The city of Berwyn commenced a similar effort on the other side of the busy street about three weeks ago.

Oak Park, Berwyn and Cicero are teaming up to reinvent the stretch of Roosevelt from Austin to Harlem. The project, which first broke ground in September, will include installing decorative streetlights, brick sidewalks, benches, bike racks and trash bins.

After finishing the first stretch of sidewalks, the communities will then repave Roosevelt between Harlem and Oak Park, according to Oak Park Village Engineer Jim Budrick, followed by the same between Oak Park and Ridgeland, and finally Ridgeland to Austin.

About $4 million of the project is being funded through a grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, along with another $3 million from the Illinois Department of Transportation. The remainder of the contract is being split among Berwyn ($1.3 million), Oak Park ($1 million) and Cicero ($250,000).

Budrick expects the work to wrap up in mid-November, about three months behind schedule because of a labor strike last year.

Roosevelt has been through the gamut of construction of late, including a $1.2-million "interim" resurfacing completed last September. The business district hopes to stay a step ahead of any potential harm the upcoming construction might cause to businesses along the stretch, said Paul Zimmermann — an Oak Park resident, president of the Roosevelt Road Business Association and owner of properties on both sides of the street. Budrick said the communities have been holding weekly construction meetings and continually updating business owners on the progress of the project.

"I think everybody is just going to do their best to get people to come on down and let them know that businesses are still open," Zimmermann said last year before the project started.

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Dolly Madison from Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2011 10:32 AM

@Ray Johnson: I'm glad to hear that there's a plan underway for Madison Street...hopefully it will be more than just a plan, but actually get acted on! Btw, how will the planned housing project in the Comcast building impact the grand vision for Madison street?

OP Resident  

Posted: March 19th, 2011 10:24 AM

I don't know about installing benches. Berwyn has them in front of the gas station at Roosevelt and Harlem. They seem to attract a group of odd characters who sit there day in and day out.

Chris Koertge  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 1:24 PM

Thanks for the quick responses, Marty and Ray! I missed that article and wasn't aware of the plan, but welcome any improvements on Madison.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 1:19 PM

The Madison Street Business Association and the Planning Committee for the implementation of the Madison Street Plan are currently working on a framework that would enhance Madison throughout Oak Park. Both groups include business owners and residents at large as appointed members to the committee. I expect design schematics for the street will be revealed in the 2nd Quarter. Stay tuned for more details as their work continues.

Marty Stempniak from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 1:17 PM

Chris, Actually, there is a street plan in the pipeline for Madison:,_Madison_may_get_spruce_up

Chris Koertge  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 1:14 PM

Wow, that looks beautiful. Why isn't there a plan and budget to make Madison look that nice?

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 12:31 PM

The corner at Maple is getting bumped out, to enhance pedestrian safety. There will still be two lanes of traffic on Maple. As for the tot lot on Maple, the planning process for the new park design addresses the protection of children in the playground. If stop signs are needed at Harvard in the future, staff would review the issues similar to other stop sign requests.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 12:29 PM

The intersection at Home and Roosevelt will be outfitted with bump outs and special crossing lighting (in-pavement lighting). This was part of the overall streetscape plan from the very beginning. Culvers was a known entity throughout the design process and all elements of the design and construction incorporated their location. Staff practice includes reevaluating traffic patterns after a project has opened to ensure the publics safety.

Gregg Kuenster from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 11:30 AM

Thanks for your swift response Mr. Johnson. I see in this image Maple Street is being reduced to one lane. Does this mean no entry from Roosevelt? The family at 1184 Maple has been asking for 15 minute parking in front of their home for years. I think it would actually help Salerno with pick ups. Is this possible? Is it possible to get a stop sign at the tot lot(Harvard Street)? Thank you.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 11:19 AM

Beat you to it Marty! I have an inquiry into DPW now and have asked for an answer.

Marty Stempniak from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 11:13 AM

That's a good question, Shannon. I'll ask today.

Shannon from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2011 8:31 AM

I have a question... will they be putting in a stop light at Home and Roosevelt road? The traffic trying to turn on to Roosevelt is already tuff enough leaving Jewel and now with the Culvers being built it will be even worse!

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