Downtown Washington Street Bridge Replacement Project
This project includes the replacement of the Washington Street bridge due to its deteriorating condition as well as improvements to the intersection of Aurora Avenue and Washington Street.
March 3, 2023: Overnight Closures begin March 5 at 7 p.m. Overnight utility work will take place Sunday through Friday from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. along Washington Street between Chicago and Aurora avenues for approximately two weeks starting Sunday, March 5. This work requires complete closures of portions of Washington Street and Chicago Avenue. Detour maps are available below.
Work will start at the intersection of Chicago and Washington and will require a complete closure in both directions on Washington between Chicago and Aurora and on Chicago between Main and the entrance to the Chicago Parking Facility. View the detour map for the Washington Street and Chicago Avenue closure.
Work will then move to the intersection of Aurora and Washington and will require a complete closure in both directions on Washington just south of the intersection. View the detour map for the Washington Street and Aurora Avenue closure.
March 1, 2023: Phase one of bridge reconstruction is on schedule to begin this spring. During the first stage, crews will demolish and replace the east side of the bridge. North and southbound traffic will move to the west side of the bridge with one lane of traffic maintained in each direction. The project timeline and specific start date for major construction is still being finalized, however tree clearing, and preliminary utility work has begun.
At this time, daytime road closures that are currently in place will remain the same, however additional lane shifts, rolling lane closures and flagging operations may be used to support utility work and pre-stage operations. Motorists should be alert to changing traffic patterns and workers in the area. The 8-ton weight limit is still in effect and overweight and oversized vehicles should continue to find alternate routes. At this time, one lane of traffic in each direction should remain in place, unless otherwise noted.
October 4, 2022: In response to an inspection in September 2022, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recommended an 8-ton weight limit and lane closures over the Washington Street Bridge. Beginning Thursday, Oct. 6 and until further notice, the outside southbound lane and the inside northbound lane will be closed to reduce traffic to one lane in each direction over the bridge. In addition, the inside eastbound lane on Aurora Avenue between Main and Washington streets will be closed, the inside eastbound lane between Webster and Main streets will be converted into a left-turn-only lane, and the outside southbound lane on Washington Street between Jackson and Chicago avenues will be converted into a right-turn-only lane. Through traffic on Washington Street will need to allow for greater travel time or use alternate routes. View a map of the closures(PDF).
- Project Timeline
To lessen the impacts to the surrounding downtown, the bridge will be repaired in several stages.
Spring 2023: Stage One Construction Begins: Crews will demolish and replace the east side of bridge. North and southbound traffic will move to the west side of the bridge with one lane of traffic maintained in each direction.
Spring 2024: Stage Two Construction Begins (tentative and dependent on completion of stage one): Crews will demolish and replace the west side of the bride. North and southbound traffic will move to the east side of the bridge with one lane of traffic maintained in each direction.
The third stage and fourth stages will begin at the completion of stage two and will entail the completion of the center piece (stage three) and the completion of the east sidewalk, railing, and other amenities (stage 4).
- Project Background
Washington Street is an important thoroughfare through downtown Naperville. It is the only north‐south route in the City that crosses both the BNSF railway tracks and the West Branch of the DuPage River. Being such a vital corridor, Washington Street sees a considerable amount of traffic. In addition to vehicular traffic, Washington Street is host to a variety of small businesses and recreational areas including Fredenhagen Park and the Naperville Riverwalk.
At the center of downtown Naperville is the Washington Street bridge. Tens of thousands of vehicles traverse this bridge every single day. The structure, which is located between Aurora Avenue and Chicago Avenue, is more than 40 years old and it is in need of replacement due to its deteriorated condition. To extend its life span, the bridge has been load posted to restrict the size of vehicle that can use the bridge. The bridge is still adequate for passenger vehicles.
Preparations to replace the bridge have been ongoing for several years. A 15-ton weight limit was imposed in 2016 to reduce damage from heavy loads. Regular inspections of the bridge have been in place since 2016 and monthly inspections of the bridge have been ongoing since January 2019.
The inspection in September 2022 showed signs of increased deterioration. After consultation with bridge engineers from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the City was directed to lower the posted weight limit from 15 tons to 8 tons and close the outside southbound lane and the inside northbound lane. The lane closures will shift traffic flow away from the affected area of the bridge and allow the City to prepare for a long-term solution. On-street parking on Washington Street will not be impacted.
A complete replacement of the bridge is tentatively scheduled to begin in spring of 2023. The City has secured federal funding from IDOT to perform the project through the Federal Bridge Program, which will cover 80 percent of the cost.