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Central Avenue Corridor Project

Central Avenue Corridor Project Study

Welcome to Central Avenue Corridor Project Study Website!

This site has been created to facilitate public input and communicate information about the project and schedule. We invite you to explore the site and provide your comments or travel experiences regarding the project through our "Contact Us" section.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is conducting a Preliminary Engineering and Environmental (Phase I) Study for the purpose of improving the north-south movement of vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians through the study area southwest of Midway Airport. The nine square mile study area is bounded by, 63rd St on the north, Cicero Avenue on the east, 87th Street on the south and Harlem Avenue on the west.

Currently, the rail yards cut off north-south traffic flow for three miles between Harlem and Cicero Avenues. The result is heavy traffic on Harlem and Cicero Avenues, congestion, and long travel times throughout the area. The Study identified several needs for transportation in the area. The area roadway network needs additional capacity, more connectivity between roads, and better access for other modes of transportation, such as bicycles and pedestrians. In addition, improved traffic flow and increased capacity will help provide economic development for the area.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) evaluated four alternatives for addressing the transportation needs. The alternatives evaluated were widening Harlem Avenue, the Central-Narragansett Alternative, the Central-Central Alternative, and widening Cicero Avenue. After evaluating all alternatives, the project team found that the Central-Central Alternative was the most practical plan from a transportation service and cost perspective.

IDOT recommended the Central-Central Alternative because this alternative meets the needs for increasing road capacity more than taking no action and improving existing routes. This alternative also meets the need for improving street connectivity by providing the greatest benefit to motorists in terms of travel time and mileage saved, and by improving the roadway connections between the CSX intermodal yard and Midway Airport. It also supports economic development and provides accommodations for bicycles and pedestrians.

The proposed typical section for Central Avenue will include: two traffic lanes in each direction separated by a median from 79th Street on the south to 63rd Street on the north. A shared use path and or sidewalks will be provided the entire length of the improvement to provide for pedestrians and cyclists. The Central Avenue Connector would pass beneath the BRC rail yard and the existing railroad tracks would be supported on bridges above the roadway. The roadway would return to grade at 79th Street on the south and 65th Street on the north.

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