When the road work season starts in earnest Monday on Route 59 in Naperville and Aurora, drivers can expect regular delays, officials say.
Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction under the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks from North Aurora Road to Glacier Park Avenue/Meridian Parkway, city spokeswoman Allison Albrecht said.
Construction on a two-year, nearly $90 million project to expand and reconstruct a three-mile stretch of Route 59 between Ferry Road and Aurora Avenue/New York Street began last August, and lanes were closed intermittently throughout the fall. But Monday's change in traffic pattern is expected to last longer than any that took place during the first season of work.
"That's going to be a big deal because that particular road configuration is going to be in place until we're looking at this fall, so it's a much longer duration," Albrecht said. "People are going to get used to this and see it for quite some time."
The lane reduction is affecting the area north of the Route 59 Metra station, so commuters are encouraged to allow extra time. Albrecht said Naperville is working with Pace suburban bus service to develop possible alternate options to the Route 59 station that could be in place this summer.
In the meantime, train commuters can use one of the park-and-ride sites in Naperville. Drivers can park for free at St. Thomas the Apostle Church to take a shuttle to the Naperville Metra station, or at 91st Street and Wolf's Crossing Road, Community Christian Church or Wheatland Salem Church to take a bus to the Route 59 station.
"We're hoping that will reduce some of the traffic going up and down the corridor," Albrecht said.
Also beginning Monday, lanes will be reduced at major intersections in the Route 59 construction zone, including Diehl Road, North Aurora Road, Jefferson Avenue/Liberty Street and Aurora Avenue/New York Street. Those closures are expected to cause "significant delays" on east-west routes.
As businesses brace for a summer potentially slowed by construction, Nicki Anderson, president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, said they are looking ahead to the end of 2015, when construction is scheduled to be complete.
When the project concludes, the three-mile stretch of Route 59 will have three lanes in each direction, additional left-turn lanes, bike lanes and sidewalks wherever possible and restricted access from smaller side streets to improve traffic flow.
"They talk about what an advantage it will be to the businesses over there on 59 that are probably suffering a little bit now, but the optimism stems from what it will be like when it's actually completed," Anderson said.
Albrecht said signs pointing out entrances to business driveways will remain. Many shopping centers along Route 59 can be accessed from other side streets, she said, which could help customers continue to frequent the stores.
The Route 59 project is being funded largely by the state. Naperville also is spending about $3.8 million of state motor fuel tax and other funds on this year's street resurfacing program of about 10.8 miles of roads.
Naper Boulevard is set to be resurfaced from Chicago Avenue south to Gartner Road as will streets across the city including several in the University Heights, Brighton Ridge and Harmony Grove subdivisions.
Residents can monitor the progress of nearby road work on the city's interactive construction map at http://gis.naperville.il.us/mashups/construction/, which shows anticipated work schedules and potential effects on traffic.