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Ridge Road and Bernice Road will be resurfaced this summer

LANSING, Ill. (April 25, 2024) – Driving on Ridge Road and Bernice Road this summer will be slower and bumpier than usual, with the promise of smoother travel for years to come.

The pair of heavily used east-west arteries in Lansing will be completely resurfaced this year, a process that will start this spring and last through much of the summer.

Project parameters, timeline

According to Steven Kaminsky, project engineer at Robinson Engineering, Ridge Road will be resurfaced from Torrence Avenue all the way east to the state line while Bernice will be resurfaced from Torrence to Wentworth Avenue — a total of over three miles.

ridge road
This map shows the areas of Ridge Road and Bernice Road that will be resurfaced, as well as short stretches of Oak Avenue and 173rd Street. (Source: Google Maps)

Curb removal is the first part of resurfacing, and has already started at points on Bernice Road. Kaminsky said curb removal in the downtown area of Ridge Road will wait until after the Good Neighbor Day Parade on May 4, though the process may begin in the next couple of weeks west of Burnham Avenue.

Curb removal has already started at points along Bernice Road. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Kaminsky said the resurfacing of both streets is scheduled to last three to four months, with a completion date most likely in late July or August.

Continued access, no parking

Resurfacing is different than reconstruction, Kaminsky explained.

“Resurfacing is what we call a ‘mill and overlay.’ So usually you mill two to four inches of the asphalt and then place back that same amount,” he said. “And there’s some intermittent curb and concrete work that will be done as well to correct drainage issues.”

Ridge Road
Milling the top few inches of asphalt and replacing it allows for minor blemishes to be fixed without a full reconstruction. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Both streets are wide enough that construction crews will have space to work while two-way traffic continues throughout the project.

However, downtown parking along Ridge will not be available during most — if not all — of the project.

Access to residences and businesses on both streets will also continue throughout the work, though curb removal could restrict access for a time.

“Both the Village and the contractor will do the best they can to notify residents — we typically say at least 48 hours in advance — to let them know when that’s going to be and try to coordinate if they need to get cars out or have access,” Kaminsky said.

A temporary back-fill of a curb gap can also be a possibility, he said.

Curb and sidewalk have been removed at the intersection of Bernice Road and Burnham Avenue. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Why now – and at the same time?

Having both Ridge and Bernice resurfaced in the same summer is not ideal from a traffic perspective, and the Village’s original timing had these projects planned years apart.

According to Kaminsky, Ridge Road was supposed to be done last year, but delays from the Illinois Department of Transportation stymied progress on the early phases of the project, pushing it to this year.

As for Bernice, the Village had planned the project for 2027. However, South Suburban Mayors and Managers, the entity administering the federal dollars that is making the project possible, told the Village the work had to be moved up to this year.

“[South Suburban Mayors and Managers] and [Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning] work together to put out the program. And depending on the funding amounts, it’s kind of like a puzzle. It’s the next five years, and based on the requested funding and how much they have per year, they have to move projects around and fit them in to make sure that each year’s budget is where they want it to be,” Kaminsky said.

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Sidewalk crossings will be made ADA compliant as part of resurfacing. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Kaminsky said Bernice’s resurfacing will cost $1.79 million, while Ridge will cost $2.14 million. He said it’s anticipated that the Village will receive 80% of that amount from federal grant money.

K-Five Construction is the general contractor that will be performing the work on Ridge, while Iroquois Paving Corporation will be doing the work on Bernice.

Recently, the Village also announced that it had received a $875,000 grant for sidewalk replacement along Ridge Road, which Kaminsky said is hoped to begin next year.

It’s currently unclear what effect the Ridge Road work will have on LACE’s Cruise Nights, which typically use the road multiple times each summer.

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Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.