I am pleased to report the water main installation work on Touhy Avenue is finally completed and Touhy will be resurfaced curb to curb from Clark to Western.
In conjunction with the resurfacing, the City will complete the long-awaited safety improvements to the intersection at Touhy, Rogers and Ridge.
I invite you to attend a community meeting to learn about the planned improvements. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 11th, 7:00 p.m., at the Pottawattomie Park Fieldhouse, 7340 N. Rogers.
Funding for design improvements was approved by the voters in the 2011 Participatory Budgeting election, but the City delayed implementation of the plan pending the completion of the gas and water main installation work on Touhy. In the interim, I sponsored a series of community meetings on this topic in which the City of Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) solicited the opinions of nearby neighbors and motorists who use the intersection and presented various design change proposals.
As a result of this community input, CDOT already has changed the timing of the existing traffic signals at Touhy and Ridge to keep traffic flowing.
Also as a result of community input, CDOT will extend the curb at the southwest corner of the Touhy and Rogers intersection to reduce the angle between Touhy and Rogers and shorten the crosswalk at that location from 100 feet to 40 feet. The department also will install left turn only lanes on both eastbound Touhy and westbound Rogers at Ridge. Finally, the department will install a right turn only lane on westbound Touhy at Ridge.
These left and right turn only lanes are designed to reduce traffic congestion at the intersection and make for a safer and more orderly traffic flow across Ridge.
Below is an illustration of the intersection as it appears now (top), followed by an illustration of the intersection as it will appear after the improvements are made (bottom):
Because these improvements are taking place as the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) completes its Ridge Avenue resurfacing project, the intersection improvements will be funded out of IDOT’s Ridge resurfacing project and not the 49th Ward’s capital improvement budget. This means the $75,000 allocated for the intersection improvements in the 2011 Participatory Budgeting election can be used for additional improvements to the intersection or other capital improvements in the ward.
At a community meeting last year, CDOT engineers indicated the installation of a new traffic signal on Rogers east of the intersection may be warranted, but that a funding source would need to be identified. New traffic signals can cost upwards of $250,000 or more. The money saved by IDOT’s agreement to fund the project could be allocated to new traffic signals, but additional funding would need to be identified to cover the full cost.
City traffic engineers believe the new intersection configuration may make a traffic signal at Rogers unnecessary. The engineers will continue to monitor traffic flow at the intersection after the improvements are made and report back to me and the community.
CDOT plans to complete the intersection improvements and the resurfacing of Touhy before the end of this year’s construction season. CDOT officials will announce the precise construction schedule at next week’s meeting.