The Western Avenue viaduct is now officially under demolition. The closure, which began Monday night, marks the start of an 18-month project to replace the overpass that dates back to the early 1960’s.The project in total spans a 1.25 mile stretch of Western Avenue from Waveland Avenue on the North to Logan Boulevard on the south and will feature a reconstructed roadway with two travel lanes in each direction during off peak hours, and three lanes in each direction in rush hour periods through the use of the curbside parking lanes.
The first phase will last five months and includes the heavy demolition of the viaduct and a reduction of Western Avenue into a single lane in each direction. Starting at 8 p.m. this evening, and lasting through the weekend, Western will close completely and the 11 spans of bridge deck will be taken down between the structural piers. The piers at the intersection of Belmont and Western are expected to be removed during this closure as well. Since late Monday evening, work crews have begun prepping the deteriorating reinforced concrete span for the upcoming deconstruction, including the removal of streetlights, traffic signals and railings attached to the crash barriers.
The roadway pavement has also been stripped from the north end of the bridge deck as well.
The overpass that stands at the five-point intersection was constructed to alleviate congestion generated by the former Riverview Amusement Park, which used to be located to the northwest of the Western-Belmont-Clybourn intersection. Only six years after the overpass opened in 1961, Riverview had closed and the land has since been redeveloped into a mix of commercial, institutional and government uses. In just a few days, this stretch of Western Avenue will be visually transformed and the last remnant from Riverview will also be history. This weekend will also mark the end of an era for the city’s trio of flyover intersections which also had carried Archer Avenue over Ashland as well as Ashland Avenue over Pershing (39th Street). Up until now, the Western overpass was the last one standing.
·Demolition to Begin on Western-Belmont Overpass Next Week [Curbed Chicago]
·The Western Avenue Viaduct Is Crumbling Before Our Eyes [Curbed Chicago]