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City of Chicago declares overhaul of Damen, Elston, and Fullerton intersection complete

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After two years of construction, one of the Windy City’s worst traffic bottlenecks has been eliminated

City of Chicago

City officials were on hand today to declare the two-year, $22.5 million project to reconfigure one of Chicago’s “most dangerous and congested” intersections complete. The overhaul replaced the frustrating—and dangerous—six-way interchange of Damen, Elston, and Fullerton avenues at the edge of Lincoln Park and Bucktown with three independent intersections.

To accomplish this, the Chicago Department of Transportation redirected Elston Avenue to “Elston Court”—a new roadway that cuts through an area previously occupied by the former Vienna Beef factory parking lot and the old Whirleyball building. In addition to creating two through lanes for vehicular traffic, the project also added protected bike lanes in both directions.

Other improvements included reprogrammed traffic signals, a widening of Damen, and better sidewalks along Fullerton. So far, 50 of a planned 162 new nearby trees have been planted with the remainder expected to go in the ground later this fall.

In addition to serving current motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, the project will also pay dividends for future projects. The intersection will serve the redevelopment of the Vienna Beef factory into retail and restaurant space, a $75 million renovation of the Midtown Athletic Club, the revitalization of the Lathrop Homes, and a number of mixed-use projects likely headed to the re-zoned North Branch corridor.