IDOT may shift gears on Harlem project
Road crews begin construction on Harlem Avenue near Chicago Avenue. The resurfacing project started Monday and is expected to last through the summer. Pages 10-11 | Bill Dwyer~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 11, 2012 8:53AM
A leaking water main under the Harlem Avenue in Berwyn may lead to the northern part of Harlem Avenue road resurfacing to begin much sooner than expected.
The Illinois Department of Transportation, which maintains Harlem Avenue, had planned to start the project in Berwyn and North Riverside at 26th Street. However, in late April, Berwyn officials discovered a “washout” beneath the surface of southwest corner of the Harlem/22nd Street intersection.
“There’s a break in the sewer line somewhere,” said IDOT supervising engineer Orrin James. “That’s causing the (roadbed) sub-base to wash out.”
James said he was meeting with Berwyn officials on the issue Friday morning. Berwyn officials were at the site with the IDOT contractor May 4, televising the sewer line to determine how bad the break was and how much of the sub-road bed soil has been washed away.
If the sewer line repair and roadbed reconstruction is found to require significant time, the resurfacing project start phase could be switched to North Avenue and Harlem and proceed southward from there.
“That may be a determining factor,” said James.
“They have to look at how that’s going to impact their schedule,” said acting village engineer Bill McKenna said Friday. He said he expects to have a decision from IDOT by the middle of next week.
Meanwhile, IDOT is close to wrapping up preliminary work on the entire six-mile long stretch of roadbed to be resurfaced. Workers have lowered nearly 300 sewer opening sited on the roadway long Harlem. Those sewers are approximately three inches higher than the road bed after it is ground down. Leaving them exposed would cause “serious tire damage to cars,” said James.
Lowering the openings requires removing either the brick underlayment or iron rings under the sewer opening to be removed.
IDOT is scrapping off the top several inches of asphalt roadway and laying down new asphalt on all four lanes of Harlem from 26th Street in North Riverside, through Oak Park and River Forest, to Collum Street near Norridge.
The six-mile resurfacing project started in April and is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 31. Heavy traffic and delays are predicted with the lane closures.