JOLIET – Crossing the DuPage River on Caton Farm Road is likely to be tough at times next year.
The Caton Farm Road bridge over the river will be reconstructed, and city officials are giving people a heads-up that driving through will not be easy.
“It will be a mess – no doubt about it, but it’s got to be done,” James Trizna, the city’s public works director, told the Joliet City Council Public Works Committee last week.
The City Council on Tuesday approved $471,000 for the project. The money is the city’s share of the $2.35 million project, which is primarily funded by the federal government.
Joliet is spending Motor Fuel Tax funds on the bridge.
“The intent is to do this in one construction season,” Trizna said.
Construction is likely to start in March and run until sometime around Thanksgiving, he said. Half of the bridge will remain open throughout construction. But the four-lane bridge will become a two-lane bridge during construction, creating a traffic bottleneck.
The bridge was built in the early 1980s when Caton Farm was a county road and traffic was light. Caton Farm now is maintained by the city and has become one of Joliet’s major corridors. The bridge is between the Interstate 55 frontage road and Route 59, an area that gets heavy traffic when people are going to work and coming home.
About 25,000 vehicles a day now cross the bridge.
“When it was built there was no development out there,” Trizna said. “It wasn’t designed, I believe, for the traffic it gets now.”
Deterioration has reached the point that a weight restriction has been put on the bridge.
Trizna added that driving won’t be so bad during times of the day when traffic is lighter. But traffic is likely to get backed up during peak morning and afternoon periods.
Councilman Larry Hug, whose 1st District includes the bridge, described the potential traffic impact as “an inconvenience.”
“We all know this needs to be done,” Hug said. “It’s going to be good for the Caton Farm corridor. But I want to let people know out of the box that it’s going to cause some delays.”