Inbound local lanes on the Chicago Skyway closed overnight

Metra and IDOT are working together to remove destabilized railway bridge

October 16, 2012

Caroline O'Donovan

A Chicago Skyway tollbooth (Flickr/vxla)

A Skyway ramp near 65th and Wentworth was closed for all of Tuesday and will remain shut through Tuesday night.

Illinois Department of Transportation Engineers were alerted by Metra subcontractors that overnight work on an unused rail line as part of the Englewood Flyover project may have resulted in instability. The workers were concerned that traffic vibrations could cause some part of the rail bridge to fall on traffic below or damage the bridge further, leading to the closure.

After investigating the damage, Illinois Department of Transportation and Metra engineers decided that the structure should be removed. Metra spokesperson Meg Reile said they spent the day how best to safely disassemble it and will attempt to remove it overnight. “This is not an easy job,” Reile said, “there are always dangers inherent. You try to plan for them.”

Inbound lanes of the Chicago Skyway near 65th and Wentworth will be closed throughout the proceedings. Reile said she is hopeful that the roadway will be ready to reopen tomorrow, but that if they suspected any danger would reassess and potentially extend the closures. IDOT announced via press release that the roadway is scheduled to reopen by 5:00 am Wednsday. They did not respond to request for further comment.

The original demolition project was part of work on the Englewood Flyover, an attempt aimed at decongesting freight rail in the area by building a new overpass. The contract for this construction was awarded to IHC Construction and the Illinois constructors Joint Venture in July. Reile said the plan always included Skyway closures, but that the unexpected destabilizing shifted the timetable. She said the Flyover is an extensive project, scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2014.