(Aurora, IL) - Under construction since 2013, East New York Street was opened today to near-capacity traffic usage for the first time in two years.
Improving the commute of the nearly 22,000 people who travel the main thoroughfare each day, the East New York Street Expansion Project was the latest in a series of infrastructure projects coming to completion in the City of Aurora.
"When we embarked upon this citywide infrastructure initiative, we knew two things," said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner. "We knew construction would cause some consternation because of detours, alternate routes and stoppages. We also knew the end results would be worth the temporary inconveniences and benefit Aurora for the next 50 years."
The East New York Street project included the complete reconstruction of one mile from Asbury Drive to Welsh Drive, plus ancillary improvements to Welsh Drive, Kautz Road, County Line Road, Stoughton Circle, Jamestown Court, Vaughan Road and Vaughan Circle.
The new roadway is 71-ft. wide with two thru-lanes in each direction, dedicated left turn lanes, a landscaped barrier median, and improved drainage with a new storm sewer system and water main.
"We can all easily see the obvious features like the new concrete pavement brought to the site by over 1,000 concrete trucks, the 4,000 ft. of new bike path and the 18-ft. landscape medians," said Aurora Director of Public Works Ken Schroth. "What we cannot see is the 5,000 ft. of new water main that was installed to provide more reliable service. It was also constructed in the parkway, outside of the thru lanes, to better facilitate connection by future new development."
In addition, the work includes new modernized traffic signals at Kautz Road and Vaughan Road that are interconnected and constantly feeding data back to Aurora's Central Traffic Management Center.
This stretch of New York Street has also become a safer, greener and multi-modal thoroughfare with the addition of a 5-ft. sidewalk on the north side and a 10-ft. bike path on the south side for pedestrians and cyclists.
"Over the next couple of weeks final touches will take place, including adding streetlights, working on the retaining wall and laying brick pavers in the median," said Schroth. "Sometimes this will require an isolated single lane closure, but as of today the majority of the project will have all four lanes open at all times."
The $7 million project was completed with 80% of the cost - $5.7 million - covered through federal funding.