By Anna Lothson
If North Boulevard is your go-to street to make time across the village from downtown Oak Park to the high school, get ready to find an alternate, and slower, route. Starting Monday the century old water and sewer pipes under North Boulevard are going to be replaced in a first-of-spring construction project that will last two months.
The project, which will also have a notable effect on North Blvd. businesses including Cucina Paradiso, will take place in two phases. Starting Monday crews will begin preparation work on North Blvd. from Oak Park Avenue to Kenilworth. The second phase of the project will move west from Kenilworth to Forest Avenue.
By April 8, the street will be closed to traffic from Oak Park Avenue to Kenilworth.
On March 26, the village of Oak Park sent a memo to businesses along North Boulevard reminding them that work was imminent. The project will also include resurfacing the road once the installation of water and sewer is complete.
The project, in the densely populated area will also include Kenilworth from North Blvd. to Lake Street. That promises to snarl traffic headed to the main post office and to Unity Temple.
The project will prohibit all traffic and parking during a majority of the project. Permit holder and customers will be directed to park in The Avenue/Hemingway District parking garage and at metered spaces along the viaduct on North Boulevard east of Oak Park Avenue. Additional signage will be installed to direct people to the appropriate area. Parking permit holders have been notified of the work.
Village parking lot 96 will be closed, but it will be available for drop off and pick up for clientele with access from the alley north of North Blvd. Parking lot 55 will remain open during construction with access from the alley.
At the Oak Park Avenue and North Boulevard intersection there will also be utility work being done and this will close southbound Oak Park Avenue to thru-traffic at Lake Street while underground work is occurring. During that time, however, local traffic for businesses, customers and parking garage users will be permitted. The work on Oak Park Avenue is anticipated to last one week during early April.