Oak Park, IDOT near agreement on I-290 reconstruction project

The Village of Oak Park and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are expected to sign a letter of intent in August that will approve the Interstate 290 reconstruction project.

Before both parties agree to greenlight the reconstruction, negotiations remain regarding cost-sharing, maintenance and jurisdictional responsibilities related to the proposal.

The project calls for the following: the rebuilding of interchanges at Harlem Avenue and Austin Boulevard, increasing the expressway’s capacity of six lanes to eight lanes, and moving the entrance and exit ramps of the expressway from the left to the right side, according to IDOT.

Oak Park is proposing that IDOT should assume the cost for a new sewer crossing at Oak Park Avenue due to the reconstruction of the expressway, according to Village Engineer Bill McKenna. The Village is also proposing to only be responsible for maintaining the streets and pedestrian bridges that will be rebuilt as a result of the project, and leaving the rest of the maintenance responsibilities to IDOT, the Tribune reports.

“The village prefers to do maintenance of just the surface only,” said McKenna. “We would prefer to focus on that surface that the traveling public uses and have IDOT maintain the deeper pavement and actual structure of the bridge.”

Although both parties are still negotiating, Oak Park anticipates to pay $732,642 and IDOT is expected to assume a total of $15,046,325 for the project, according to reports.

In a best-case scenario, the project could begin in 2020 and be completed by 2028, should all funds be available immediately. The biggest concerns facing Oak Park homeowners who live near the highway are depreciating property values caused by eight years of construction.

The draft of the letter of intent will be presented at the Village board meeting on Mon., July 18, with the final version expected to be presented to IDOT on Mon., Aug. 1. Residents interested in staying updated on the project or voicing their opinions can visit the IDOT website, email questions to village@oak-park.us and participate in the Village board meeting next Monday.

Photo courtesy of Highway Explorer

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Pat is the Editor for Around Media Group. He holds a degree in journalism from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota.

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