CHAMPAIGN — Construction crews have moved their work to the east side of the busy Prospect Avenue bridge across Interstate 74, where there used to be a sidewalk.
They had planned to keep that sidewalk closed, but after questions about access for pedestrians, they added a temporary one, said Alex Kedas, senior resident engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation.
“Originally, there was no provision for a temporary sidewalk, but we really appreciated the input we had at the public meeting and figured out a way to make that happen,” said Kedas, who is in charge of the project.
About 90 pedestrians and bicyclists use the temporary sidewalk each day, he said.
“We moved the concrete barrier over a little bit to create 4 feet” of space, he said.
The temporary sidewalk is on the construction side of the barrier and has a chain-link fence separating pedestrians from the construction.
“It’s on the new bridge surface that we built on the first stage, so pedestrians have that nice surface to walk on,” Kedas said.
In June, crews began the $1.4 million project, which IDOT said should give the 62-year-old bridge another 25 years of life. They’re re-decking it and replacing the joints at the ends.
IDOT is still on track to finish by Nov. 1, Kedas said.
During construction, the six lanes of traffic have been reduced to three — one in each direction, with a turn lane on each end.
They started work on the west side of the bridge, then moved to the east side.
Before the project began, IDOT held a public meeting and put up signs warning drivers about the impending congestion and urging them to take alternate routes.
Kedas said that must have worked.
“Surprisingly, traffic congestion is much lighter than we anticipated when we started the project,” he said. “We tried to use the alternate routes and get the message out, and it seems like the public really adopted that and changed their habits.
“All things considered, traffic is doing well.”