Franklin Park is planning a series of road improvements to complement the ongoing planned I-490 interchange project, which will allow drivers to access O’Hare International Airport from the west.
The I-490 project, or O’Hare Western Bypass, “will be built to carry north-south traffic around the western border of O’Hare and provide access to the airport,” according to the Illinois Tollways website. I-490 will begin with a partial interchange with I-294 in Franklin Park.
The tollway website, illinoistollway.com, offers a map of the I-490 project.
The new configuration will create access to southbound I-294 off of Franklin Avenue in Franklin Park. Meanwhile, northbound I-294 traffic could ramp off to I-490 and then ramp down to Franklin Avenue. As part of this project, Franklin Park will complete reconstructionand widen Franklin Avenue starting in the winter of 2022, with completion planned for the fall of 2023. Franklin Park has received $35 million in grants related to the project. The bulk of the grant funding – about $32.8 million – came from IDOT and the tollway, with the remainder coming through county programs.
In anticipation of the tollway project, and the reconstruction of Franklin Avenue, Franklin Park is making other road improvements meant to align traffic patterns. One of those improvements will be the creation of a dedicated right-turn lane for southbound traffic on Mannheim Road to turn onto Belmont. The truck traffic will then be able to reach Franklin Avenue by turning right onto Williams Drive.
The new traffic configuration should eliminate the need for southbound truck traffic on Mannheim to make left turns off onto Belmont to reach Franklin Avenue. Pedersen said the current traffic pattern can create congestion and delays, as trucks sometimes have difficulty making the left turn onto Belmont.
Right now, we can have situations where a semi is coming across Belmont, and the light changes, and it can actually end up blocking Belmont.
To facilitate the creation of the turn lane, Franklin Park is buying and demolishing 3204 Mannheim Road, a property which has been abandoned for more than a decade. The Village Board approved the transfer this month of $696,700 in funds from the Belmont Avenue/Williams Street Tax Increment Financing District. Franklin Park had already allocated $1.455 million for the project, according to village documents regarding the project.
A tax increment financing district can be created when an area is deemed blighted in such a way that private investment is unlikely to occur without some kind of government intervention. The creation of such a district allows the reallocation and use of property tax dollars to be used for public improvements, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce.
Aside from property acquisition, the project will entail widening Mannheim Road to create the turn lane, the widening and reconstruction of Belmont Avenue from Williams to Mannheim, and the widening of Williams from Belmont to Franklin.
There is no set timeline for the project.