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Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review
by Brian L. Cox


Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'

Skokie officials have signed off on the latest in a series of engineering plans that are part of a two-year, multimillion-dollar set of infrastructure improvements in the village.

The plans include improving the Old Orchard Road bridge spanning the Edens Expressway, updating expressway exit rams, paving and installing new traffic signals, officials said.

The Skokie Village Board during its May 6 meeting signed off on the latest engineering proposals for the Old Orchard Improvement Project: Phase 11, which is forecasted to cost in excess of $10 million, said Erik Cook, director of engineering.

“The village has been working hard on this for a long time,” Cook said. “My predecessor started working on this project with the initial study a long time ago, then we gave the work to the county to get them onboard.”

The improvement project is a joint undertaking, with the village, county and state all involved, Cook said. He said plans currently call for reconstruction of the Old Orchard Road Bridge spanning the Edens Expressway and for additional exit lanes to be constructed on the Edens.

He said the additional exit lanes are needed because northbound traffic exiting the Edens is often backed up onto the highway.

“It’s a safety issued when you have those cars backed up onto the Edens,” he said. “The ramps are going to be improved…with dual lanes coming off to help alleviate the traffic.”

Cook County is the lead governmental agency on the project, but Skokie officials and the state are also involved, Cook said.

He said the plan is slowly moving from the engineering phase to construction, but ground breaking on the project is unlikely to start before spring of 2021.

In addition, plans call for the installation of new traffic signals, paving and the extension of a 10-foot wide bike and pedestrian path along Old Orchard Road.

“It’s a big project,” said Cook. “There’s a lot of expensive ticket items in this project.”

He said the village helped the county secure grants to help pay for some of the work.


“There’s going to be some headaches when it’s getting built, but it’s desperately needed,” Cook said. “If you get under that bridge it looks like it should be replaced. It’s time.”

Brian L. Cox is a freelance reporter.

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