Stretch of Eola Road in Aurora to be widened under plan
By Stephanie Lulay firstname.lastname@example.org February 18, 2014 7:56PM
Rush hour traffic backs up at Eola and Montgomery roads Friday. A planned Eola Road project will reconstruct an existing one-mile stretch of Eola Road, now a two-lane road, into a five-lane road from Montgomery Road to 87th Street. | Stephanie Lulay, Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2014 2:35AM
AURORA — A recently-passed engineering agreement will make way for a bottleneck stretch of Eola Road to be converted into five lanes on the city’s Far East Side.
The planned Eola Road project will reconstruct an existing half-mile stretch of Eola Road, now a two-lane road, into a five-lane road from Montgomery Road to 87th Street. The fifth lane will add left turn lanes at Ridge Avenue and Dorothy along with intersection improvements at Montgomery Road and Keating, according to a city report.
Aldermen last week approved a second phase engineering plan that will make the road widening project possible. HR Green Inc. will provide engineering plans for the new wider stretch of Eola for $492,290, according to a city memo. The agreement gets the city “very close” to construction of the new wider stretch of road, said Mayor Tom Weisner.
Alderman Rick Mervine, 8th Ward, said the move to make the narrow stretch of road wider has been a decade in the making. The added lanes will help keep traffic moving along busy Eola Road, he said.
“This goes back over 10 years ago, long before I was an alderman,” Mervine said Tuesday. Instead of a “choke-point,” the wider stretch of street will help “better connect the dots” from one end of Eola Road to the other.
During rush hour, the one-lane each-direction segment of Eola Road creates backups along the rest of the corridor. Reverse commuters coming off the I-88 interchange at Eola Road headed for their Far East Side subdivisions often sit idle at traffic lights, he said.
“Everybody gets tired and angry,” Mervine said, adding that the population boom on Aurora’s Far East Side has only made the thoroughfare more congested.
At one time, the construction package that built the I-88 interchange at Eola Road was thought to have addressed the two-lane stretch of Eola, too, but it never happened.
After that move failed, Mervine, then-Far East Side Alderman Leroy Keith and the city’s engineering department decided the city’s best plan to get the one-lane of traffic in each direction addressed was to get in line for funding.
The city has budgeted $911,600 for the Eola project in 2014. The city will recoup some engineering costs from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Mervine said he expects engineering work to be completed this summer and estimated that work on the two-lane stretch could begin next year.
Weisner said the stretch runs counter to the rest of Eola Road, which runs two lanes in each direction.
“It constricts that area and ‘pain’ would be the right expression for those who live in the area,” Weisner said. “All will be very happy to see that improvement being made.”
The roadway will also include a new sidewalk on the east side of the road, a bike path on the west side of the road, and traffic signals at Montgomery Road and 87th Street, according to city officials.