Officials Tout Des Plaines River Road Improvements, Say It Will Create Jobs
Despite a summertime strike delay, the reconstruction project is expected to be completed by July and has created jobs.
With the rumbling of traffic and construction noise on Des Plaines River Road as their backdrop, local and state officials announced at a news conference on Oct. 5 that upgrades to the road are progressing on schedule.
The project, which costs roughly $13 million, began in July, and despite a summertime strike that set back work, construction is mostly on schedule, said John Duddles, assistant director of public works and engineering for the City of Des Plaines.
"It's moving along real well. The weather has been good," Duddles said. "There's been some extension due to the strike," he added, speaking of a three-week construction strike that reportedly held up more than 300 projects during the summer.
The upgrades, slated for completion in July, will affect a 1.5-mile stretch of Des Plaines River Road from north of Touhy Avenue to south of Devon Avenue. Des Plaines officials have jurisdiction over the road, Duddles said.
Local and state officials touted the benefits of the project, which will literally smooth the way for access to a 147,000-square-foot gambling complex on 20 acres at Des Plaines River Road and Devon Avenue.
"With the development of the new casino, this area is quickly becoming a destination location," said Mayor Martin Moylan at Tuesday's gathering. "The total reconstruction of River Road, including new concrete, pavement, drainage improvements and traffic signals...is crucial to this area's development."
Moylan said area drivers have been patient during the construction, which has narrowed roads down to two lanes in some areas that are riddled with workers in orange and green vests, heavy machinery and noise.
The mayor thanked Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who both attended the news conference at 2600 S. River Rd., for their assistance in securing funding for the project.
Hannig doesn't anticipate any funding issues that could halt the project, pointing to capital improvement dollars that have been made available for such road work.
"So far, there are no problems with debt service," he said. "Next year will be a busy construction season as well."
Schakowsky. who is seeking re-election in the 9th Congressional District, said updates to River Road will have positive implications for area employment and for the environment.
"This is all about job creation, as well as fixing a road that has needed pavement repair and creating better opportunities for drainage, which alleviates some of the flooding," the congresswoman said.
"And to clean the water that gets finally sent to the forest preserve district," Schakowsky added. "This is a very important, very widely used structure of road. The state of Illinois and the City of Des Plaines have really come together in a project where everyone wins."
Mayor Martin Moylan will host a meeting Oct. 14 at the Des Plaines Public Library, 1501 Ellinwood Ave., to inform business owners about what they can expect with the arrival of the state's newest casino. View details here.
An open letter from Mayor Moylan about the meeting can be viewed here.