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Latino State News

Midway-Area Overpass Finally Being Built

Long-awaited roadway aimed at improving traffic near Midway Airport

Chicago’s Central Avenue Bypass project, which has been in the works for years, is finally becoming a reality.

The Illinois Department of Transportation plans to proceed with $170.4 million in design, engineering, right-of-way land acquisition and other pre-construction work on the bypass, which would create a new north-south route across a large rail yard on the traffic-congested Southwest Side.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be in Chicago on Monday along with Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Chicago, House Speaker Michael Madigan and other state and local officials to announce the project’s go-ahead.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says a spokesman for the congressman, who is pushing for construction money for the bypass in an upcoming federal transportation bill, which is stalled in Congress.

The project is expected to cost a total of $300 million to $600 million when completed, according to an IDOT spokeswoman, depending on final cost estimates. It would connect Central Avenue between 63rd and 87th streets, taking pressure off Cicero and Harlem avenues. No final decision has been made on whether it will be an overpass or an underpass, according to a Lipinski aide.

The recently passed state capital bill got the project started by providing $60 million, enough to complete pre-construction work. The rest of the $170.4 million comes from previously allocated state and federal funds, including $35 million remaining from about $2 billion in federal funds that were reallocated to other city projects after the proposed Crosstown Expressway was killed in 1979.