East New York Street in Aurora will be undergoing a $6 million to $7 million reconstruction this year, and more changes may be in store for the east-west road that runs through downtown, city officials said Tuesday.
A road work project scheduled to begin this fall will reconstruct a roughly milelong stretch of the thoroughfare from Asbury Drive to Welsh Avenue, mainly in DuPage County.
Separate from that project, the city soon will begin studying the possibility of converting the one-way westbound street to hold two-way traffic from Smith Street into downtown, Carie Anne Ergo, chief management officer, said.
Mayor Tom Weisner announced the upcoming two-way traffic study during his State of the City address last month.
He said opening East New York Street for two-way traffic could add to other transportation changes downtown, including the completion of the new Downer Place bridges and streetscape enhancements, the conversion of Downer and Benton Avenue into two-way streets and the upcoming removal of parking meters.
"The opening of the bridges also ushered in a new era of two-way traffic," Weisner said during the speech. "This change has been so popular in fact, that we are now studying the possibility of two-way traffic on the portion of New York Street that enters our downtown from the east."
Ergo said Tuesday the transition to allowing two-way traffic on Downer and Benton has gone smoothly and already has enlivened the area.
City staff members plan to bring a contract for initial design work of a two-way New York Street to the city council for approval within the next few weeks, she said. Then community discussions about the benefits and downfalls of allowing both eastbound and westbound traffic could begin.
Studying the possibility of two-way traffic on New York Street has been in Aurora's master plan since 2006, Ergo said, but completing Downer Place bridge work took priority.
"We really don't have easy access in and out of downtown coming from the East," she said.
While plans to consider two-way traffic develop, the reconstruction of the road further east is set to move forward next week with expected city council approval of several contracts to buy temporary construction easements from nearby property owners.
New York Street already holds vehicles heading both east and west on the stretch between Asbury and Welsh that will be redone.