Lynwood to lead second phase of Joe Orr Road expansion

2013-03-13T10:32:00Z 2013-03-13T19:01:05Z Lynwood to lead second phase of Joe Orr Road expansionBob Moulesong Times Correspondent
March 13, 2013 10:32 am  • 

LYNWOOD | The Village Board on Tuesday approved the second phase of the Joe Orr Road expansion.

The village will be the lead on the second phase engineering study, which will begin this month.

“Robinson Engineering, our village engineer firm, will conduct the study under our management,” Public Works Director Bob Meyer told the board.

The second phase engineering study will cost $878,407. The federal share is $702,725, and the Cook County share is $175,682. No village money will be used for the study, officials said.

The project's first phase, from east of Stony Island Avenue to Torrence Avenue, moved and rebuilt Joe Orr Road to the south and expanded it to four lanes with turning lanes at major intersections.

Torrence Avenue was widened to three lanes from the new Joe Orr intersection to the old one. The work was completed in November at a cost of $7.1 million, according to the Cook County highway department.

The second phase will extend Joe Orr Road from Torrence Avenue, curving north to connect with Burnham Avenue, at an estimated cost of $10 million. The engineering study will take place in 2013, with construction scheduled for 2014 and 2015.

The reconstruction and extension of Joe Orr Road is designed to benefit commuters in both states who endure daily traffic congestion while traveling to their jobs across the border, according to regional planning officials, who held a news conference earlier this month.

South suburban towns are expecting an economic boost from the road project, which is being conducted by the newly reorganized Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways.

"The new Joe Orr expansion will help us develop a downtown," Lynwood Village President Gene Williams said.

The road work will create three new intersections in Lynwood — Torrence Avenue, Glenwood-Dyer Road and Burnham Avenue — and Williams is optimistic the traffic pattern that results will create "islands of opportunities'' that attract businesses.

"There should be 12 businesses that would want a corner spot,” Williams said. “That type of development would be a true revitalization of the south suburbs.”

Local officials describe the Joe Orr Road expansion as an example of the type of decision the county should be making with its limited resources to link transportation improvements with economic development.

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