Thousands of cars travel up and down Washington Street per day, making it the spine of downtown Naperville.
But beginning September 9th, the flow of that street will be disrupted as construction begins.
“It’s been 13 years since it’s been resurfaced, so it’s due,” said Linda La Cloche, Communications Manager for the City of Naperville.
Crews will strip and resurface the road from School Street on the north, to Osler Drive on the south. Improvements will also be made to sidewalks, crosswalks, and curbs.
Traffic will be open in both directions the entire time, but no parking will be allowed on Washington.
“I think the best advice is to encourage people to use the parking decks,” said Katie Wood, Executive Director, Downtown Naperville Alliance. “If they just utilize the parking decks and not try to find a parking space they’ll be inside eating their appetizer or trying on their third outfit.”
With numerous shops and restaurants lining Washington, the city has been working closely with the Downtown Naperville Alliance and merchants to assure them the process will go as smoothly as possible.
“I was worried about it and the way it was going to affect our walking traffic on Washington Street just with the dust and the inconvenience of not being able to park,” said Deborah Schneider, Store Manager at Marbles: The Brain Store. “But we hope our patrons will use our back door, there’s plenty of parking out there, plenty of parking the garage. So please don’t let it dissuade you from doing your holiday shopping early this year.”
It won’t just be Washington Street affected. One of the big projects is the sidewalk in front of the adjacent alley where local businesses receive daily deliveries.
“There are 20-30 semis going through that alley every single day, so those semis have to go somewhere. So Jefferson Avenue is going to be a little crowded for about four days,” said Jim Bergeron, Owner of Jimmy’s Grill and Wise Boxer Pour House.
This was planned so construction can be completed before the Rt. 59 roadwork really picks up.
“We’ve all got to realize that’s going to drive traffic downtown, which could be good for shopping and dining and everything else,” said Bergeron. “If we try and hold off the Washington repairs for the two years that Rt. 59 is going to take, then we’d have some real issues on Washington.”
While the area will cause a few headaches over the next six weeks, officials hope this won’t dissuade people from still coming downtown.
“It is going to be an inconvenience, but we encourage the community to continue to patronize these businesses for about a six-week period along Washington because they really rely on patronage with or without construction,” said Wood.
Construction is expected to end in mid-October.
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