Construction on 75th Street is slated to end this month after 8 months of lane closures and traffic delays.
"We are in completion stage [of the project] doing final striping and clean-up," DuPage County Board Vice Chairman John Curran told Patch. "Three lanes are open in each direction, and traffic is back to normal. It should be done by end of this week."
Why 75th Street?
The main objective of the project was to widen 75th Street from two lanes in each direction to three lanes between Woodward and Lyman Avenues. Additional road work has included:
- Resurfacing 75th Street between I-355 and Lyman Avenue in addition to Woodward Avenue and Lemont Road;
- Constructing new right turn lane and dual left turn lanes on 75th Street at Lemont Road;
- Installing new storm sewers, concrete curb, gutters and traffic lights;
- Constructing a bike path along the south side of 75th Street between Woodward and Lyman Avenues; and
- Replacing existing landscape barrier median.
The project was needed to improve safety and design, say officials, noting that there were 91 reported accidents at Lemont and 75th Street from 2009 to 2011.
Business Owners Speak Out
Wendy Villarreal, co-owner of Cozzi Corner at Lemont and 75th, told Patch that she and other local business owners were unaware of the negative impact the project would have on sales.
"They said [the construction] would be done at Halloween, then Thanksgiving and now it's almost Christmas," said Villarreal, adding that sales were down 30 percent because of construction at her hot dog stand.
Why was the project prolonged? There are two reasons, according to Curran.
"We had a consultation with business owners along 75th Street, and there was a desire to keep two lanes in each direction open as often as possible. Rather than shutting down to one lane, there were limited daily lane closures," he explained of the delays.
Electrical complications were another factor, he said.
Cozzi Corner and its neighbor Downers Grove Wine Shop will be hosting special incentives in upcoming weeks to bring customers back to the area, said Villarreal. "We want to get the word out that construction is over. ... We'll have a big special next week with all sandwiches $4.99."
While Curran is aware that it's been a difficult year for business owners in the 75th Street construction zone, he's hoping the improvements will pay off soon.
And the community seems to agree.
"... I think it's for the better. ... When it was really bad, I definitely skipped shops on 75th to go elsewhere. But driving down now and having three lanes made it worth it," Sarah Ahmed commented on Woodridge Patch's Facebook page last week.
A $11.2 million contract was awarded to Central Blacktop Co. for the project. It will be funded by county roadway funds and the recovery zone bonds passed by DuPage County in 2010, says Curran.
In 2014, DuPage County officials will discuss whether or not to continue construction further east at 75th and Plainfield Road, as well as 75th and Cass Avenue.
Patch Asks: Are you happy that construction is almost over? What do you think of the changes to the road? Did you avoid the area this year? Will you return to dine and shop?