Roadwork underway on Harlem and Archer
Commuters can expect delays while traveling busy thoroughfares
By Steve Metsch
Road work on two of the area’s major thoroughfares promises to make driving a challenge this summer.
The Illinois Department of Transportation recently started two simultaneous projects that, when combined, could bring a special kind of frustration, especially during rush hours, to motorists and truck drivers.
IDOT announced plans to resurface Archer Road in Summit, between 55th Place and 63rd Street, which will result in daytime lane closures. IDOT also announced the same plan for Harlem Avenue, from 26th Street to the Stevenson Expressway.
Harlem, of course, is one of the busiest north-south roads in the area. Much of that traffic will probably find its way to First Avenue on the west side of Lyons, a road that last fall finally fully reopened after a two-year project.
The communities of Lyons, Berwyn, Riverside, Stickney and Forest View are expected to be impacted by work on Harlem, IDOT said in a news release.
Lyons Mayor Chris Getty said that inconveniences are at times needed for improvements.
“Unfortunately, when you have these big projects, they do cause frustration. But, in the end, it’s well worth it and we look forward to all of the state improvements,” Getty said.
One of the biggest improvements, he said, is getting turn lanes from Harlem Avenue onto 47th Street.
“They’ll widen the road. That will be better for trucks, better for commuter traffic. We’re looking forward to the state coming in and taking care of Harlem Avenue,” Getty said.
Harlem will be reduced to one lane in each direction with flaggers during construction. Closures will take place during the day and the lanes will reopen by the evening, the release said.
There will be resurfacing and pavement patching along with removal and replacement of curbs and gutters. New pedestrian ramps will also be installed. The Harlem project is expected to be completed by this autumn, IDOT said.
A faster conclusion is expected for the Archer Road resurfacing project due for completion at the end of this summer, according to IDOT.
The same improvements planned for Harlem will be done on Archer, along with rebuilding sidewalk ramps to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA, according to IDOT.
Archer Road is often used by drivers heading to the south and southwest suburbs, and into Chicago, sometimes as a quicker alternative to using the Stevenson, also called Interstate 55. It is the main road slicing through Summit.
Summit Village Trustee Sam Dardovski said Archer Road needs some improvements, but he doesn’t think local businesses will be impacted too negatively by the project.
“It’s basically a resurfacing. They have this big machine that removes the surface and then puts down the new surface on top of the road. I just came home from Ohio and they’re doing this on a 100-mile stretch of highway. It’s not like the old days when they had to dig up the road,” Dardovski said.
He’s glad the project includes new cuts in sidewalks at roads and installation of improved ramps for the disabled.
“I really don’t think it’s going to hurt the businesses on Archer whatsoever,” Dardovski said of the road work. “And, the best thing for Summit is it’s not costing us a penny. The state pays for it.”
Asked about the work on Harlem Avenue, he replied, “Oh, that’s gonna stink. Harlem is a very, very busy road. That’s going to cause some backups. I hope they do work around the rush hours.”
Updates on the impacts to traffic will be available at www.travelmidwest.com.
— Desplaines Valley News