Residents who depend on 108th Avenue for access to their properties may soon be able to do so again from both the north and south, according to a Cook County Highway Department engineer.
As of Thursday, the recently resurfaced northbound lane was blocked off with north traffic travelling on the southbound lane. Crews are scheduled to do the final resurfacing work Friday, and if rain stays away from the area, both lanes could be back open to the public on Friday, according to Paulino Leyva, civil engineer from the Cook County Highway Department. Work is still scheduled to continue through the weekend, which may require a flagger to occasionally hold one of the traffic lanes, Leyva said Thursday.
“There’s an Oct. 5 deadline on two-way traffic,” Leyva said. “That’s per the contract that they have to open it tomorrow.”
The project to repair 108th Avenue between 167th and 179th streets started on June 11. The lanes itself would not be widened, but the shoulders would be expanded, according to a release from the Village of Orland Park. The work has limited 108th Avenue to one lane since then.
Several residents living around the area were confounded at the length of time to repair a stretch of road about 1,100 feet long, especially during summer months when it appeared no progress had been made at all.
The delays came from using a new process to repair the road, where the existing road material is recycled, reprocessed and then placed to cut costs on materials and shipping, Leyva said.
“It’s called full-depth reclamation,” Leyva said. “Only the surface band was taken away. Instead of hauling away old materials and bringing in new, the entire base is reused.”
Leyva said using this process cut estimated costs for the project from $5 million to $2 million. Working through the different and new aspects of the process contributed to the delays, he said.
When using entirely new materials, getting a mix design for concrete and hot asphalt can be as simple as pulling one from a shelf, according to Leyva. But the new process requires samples be taken from the existing road and analyzed before a proper mix designed can be identified, and the only company that can do that is in Tampa, Fla., Leyva said.
“Once we got the mix design and we were ready to work, the contractor had an equipment breakdown,” Leyva said. “With any other process we could rent a machine and continue, but with the reclamation that was the only machine in the Midwest that could do it.”
With those issues behind the work crews, now the only factor that could slow opening both lanes is rain.
“Everything is set up for tomorrow,” Leyva said Thursday. “The crew and trucks are ready to put down the final mix.”