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.
Week of May 8, 2023: All traffic will shift to the west side of the bridge while the east side is removed and replaced. One lane of traffic will be open in each direction over the bridge, the sidewalk on the west side of the bridge will remain open to pedestrians and the existing on-street parking north of Chicago Avenue will remain in place during this phase. Businesses in the area are open and accessible throughout construction.
Motorists and pedestrians should follow all posted detour and closure signs, allow for longer travel time and use caution when navigating through the area. Pedestrians are especially encouraged to seek alternate routes as the available sidewalk on the west side of the bridge has been narrowed and will be close to traffic. The eight-ton weight limit and lane closures are in place until further notice.
Access to the DuPage River that passes at the bridge is closed until further notice for the public’s safety. This includes all recreational activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking, floating, etc.
- Project Timeline
To lessen the impacts to the surrounding downtown, the bridge will be repaired in several stages.
Spring 2023: Stage One Construction Begins: Beginning the week of May 8, 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.