2012: The Year We Finally Reconstruct North Orchard Drive

Orchard Drive Viaduct
A viaduct on Orchard Drive. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Finally, after more than a decade of planning, engineering studies, reams of reports requiring approval, environmental studies, and, most importantly, securing funding — at last the reconstruction of North Orchard Drive will commence this spring.

The Village Board took one of the final steps in the planning process for this two-year endeavor in December when it approved the purchases of "portions of private property will need to be purchased and established as permanent easements in order to construct and/or maintain the necessary geometric and public utility improvements at specific intersections along Orchard Drive."

The project is scheduled to get underway when the weather warms, and, when it does, expect one major change through November: all traffic on North Orchard Drive will travel north only from Lakewood Boulevard to Lincoln Highway. That likely will be one lane for the majority of the spring, summer and early fall.

However, the end result is what we have been anticipating for years. Orchard Drive will be completely stripped, re-engineered and resurfaced. Bike lanes will be added on either side, and there will be one lane heading north, one south, each separated by a turning lane. There will be a new traffic signal at the intersection of Orchard and Westwood Drives, and two left-turn lanes at the intersection of Orchard Drive and Lincoln Highway.

The entire project will span two construction seasons, with the big work happening this year.