The 2017-18 school year at Riverside-Brookfield High School begins on Aug. 15, but anyone driving themselves or their kids to school should prepare for traffic delays courtesy of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s ongoing sewer-lining project.
Officials had held out some hope that the sewer-lining work, particularly along Washington Avenue between Arden Avenue and Golf Road, would be done before school started – Riverside District 96 schools reopen on Aug. 24 – but work will continue through the month of August.
And if the area experiences anymore heavy rain events, such as those in late July, it could postpone the work further.
“All of this is weather dependent. When the weather is bad, we are not allowed to work in them,” said David Yunis, operations manager for Kenny Construction, the contractor heading up the work on the MWRD’s rehabilitation of its 90-year-old Salt Creek Intercepting Sewer No. 2, which snakes below First Avenue from around 13th Street to Forest Avenue/Ridgewood Avenue and then branches off east and west into Riverside and Brookfield.
That means the temporary traffic signals and the one traffic lane along part of Washington Avenue will remain in place until the end of August.
The traffic signal, however, will be returning later in the fall. According to Yunis, the traffic signals will return to the vicinity of Washington and Arden avenues in Brookfield in late September and early October.
“The same traffic control … will be needed for about three weeks at that location, pending resolution of some technical issues on those sewers,” Yunis said.
Kenny Construction will begin lining the sewer along Arden Avenue north and south of Washington Avenue at that time.
Brookfield Village Engineer Derek Treichel said that the sewer work on Arden Avenue should not delay the reconstruction of that street between Washington and Brookfield avenues.
Arden Avenue is due for a total rehab this year as part of the village’s $22.5 million multi-year street improvement campaign. Work to improve that street already has started.
Kenny will have to install an access shaft on the west side of Arden near Parkview Avenue, but the work ought to be complete by mid-September, Treichel said.
According to Treichel, the company hired to do street improvements will be able to work on Arden Avenue at the same time Kenny is in the area.
“We anticipate that the street reconstruction on Arden will be complete in early October,” Treichel said.
First Ave. restrictions continue
Meanwhile, traffic lanes on First Avenue at Forest Avenue, where the MWRD has a primary access shaft, will continue to be reduced at least through the end of August, Yunis said.
“But there could be potential delays at First and Forest if weather changes,” Yunis said.
As a result, the Riverside Police Department will deploy two crossing guards at First and Forest/Ridgewood until the project is complete, using the same plan that’s been employed in the past.
One crossing guard will escort students across First Avenue on the south side of the street, while another on the west side of First Avenue will cross students to the north side.
That setup will be used, said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel until the entire MWRD operation is complete, probably closer to the end of 2017, because even after First Avenue is completely re-opened to traffic, the right lane of westbound Forest Avenue still will be closed.
With MWRD work continuing on Washington Avenue and First Avenue near RBHS, school officials have announced that the dean’s office would be lenient regarding first-period tardies for the first week of school.
Meanwhile, Riverside-Brookfield High School Superintendent Kevin Skinkis said there will be a school staff member directing traffic at Golf Road and Washington Avenue both before and after school.
In addition to the construction, the high school opens its new parking lot off of Rockefeller Avenue this fall, and its impact on traffic congestion in that area is still to be seen.