All lanes on the Dan Ryan Expressway near the Chicago Skyway reopened this morning after demolition work on a railway bridge caused traffic shutdowns Tuesday.
A demolition crew was working on a railroad bridge spanning the Ryan (I-90/94) near 64th Street when a section of concrete deck shifted and became "potentially destabilized," according to the Illinois Department of Transportation and Metra.
Work was stopped and traffic was halted on the inbound skyway ramp that feeds the local lanes of the Ryan.
"While cutting the deck, (workers) saw movement and they stopped and requested that it be inspected," Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said.
All inbound lanes of the Skyway and the inbound local lanes of the Ryan were closed Tuesday afternoon so crews could install shoring towers under the bridge and remove portions of concrete, IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey said.
All lanes reopened shortly before 5 a.m. today, according to the Illinois State Police.
Metra said more overnight work and lane closures were expected in coming weeks as the bridge is removed.
The bridge is no longer used by trains and is one of two parallel bridges that cross the Ryan at that point. The other bridge is used by Metra trains and was not affected.
The demolition work is part of a $93 million contract that Metra awarded July 16 to a joint venture of Elgin-based IHC Construction Cos. LLC and Illinois Constructors Corp. of Elburn. A subcontractor, Batavia-based Alpine Demolition Services, was doing the bridge demolition work.
Alpine and IHC did not return calls for comment. John Mackanin, president of Illinois Constructors, said his company was not involved in that part of the project.
The overall contract calls for construction of a railroad bridge known as the Englewood Flyover. That bridge will carry the north-south Metra Rock Island trains over tracks used by Amtrak and freight trains at 63rd and State streets.
The crossing is one of the most tangled railway bottlenecks in North America, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The project was the focus of controversy this year when three South Side congressmen threatened to block it. The economically depressed Englewood neighborhood would get no jobs or economic benefit from the contract, they said.
After a delay, Metra approved the contract after a nonbinding deal was worked out between the congressmen, led by Rep. Bobby Rush, and the contractors to guarantee an unspecified share of work for African-American-owned companies.
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