Vehicles are seen on Harlem Avenue on Sunday, April 3, in Oak Park. | Alex Rogals

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) crews have begun work on what will be a summerlong project to resurface and repair Harlem Avenue through a handful of suburban communities, including Oak Park and River Forest.

The $5.7 million project was slated to begin on Tuesday, March 29 and is expected to last through late October, according to IDOT. Officials described the work as normal maintenance on a “heavily traveled” patch of road that was last resurfaced in 2012.

Work will be done on a 4.5-mile stretch traversing the communities of Berwyn, Riverside, North Riverside, Forest Park, Oak Park and River Forest. The resurfacing work is scheduled to be done Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will include installing new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk ramps and replacing deteriorated curbs.

The project also includes deck repairs on the Harlem Avenue bridge over the Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate 290). That portion of the work is scheduled to be done overnight and will not impact pedestrian access to the Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line station at Harlem, IDOT says.

Local political officials recently touted a dormant plan to completely reimagine the highway crossing at Harlem Avenue as part of a major rebuilding of the highway, something that gained renewed traction with the passage of a multi-billion-dollar federal infrastructure package last year. IDOT officials say the current work on the Harlem Avenue bridge is unrelated to any future projects involving I-290.

Traffic is expected to be limited on Harlem Avenue throughout this resurfacing, although the roadway will remain open in both directions at all times and access to residences and local businesses will not be restricted. There will be “intermittent daytime closures,” however, and IDOT recommended travelers budget extra time to get through the area for the foreseeable future. Motorists are urged to pay close attention to workers in the area and obey all posted speed limits.

In the next six years, IDOT is scheduled to improve more than 3,500 miles of Illinois roadway and 9 million square feet of bridge deck as part of a campaign known as Rebuild Illinois. In the first two years of the $33.2 billion project involving a variety of modes of transportation, IDOT has performed more than $5 billion in improvements on 3,000-plus statewide highway miles and 270 bridges.

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