Improvements to sidewalks and streets in Chinatown is underway

(CHICAGO) Work on the Wells-Wentworth Corridor, including additional traffic signals and new sidewalks, began earlier this week in Chinatown.

The project aims to create a new roadway between the Loop and Chinatown, the Chicago Department of Transportation announced on Friday. Improvements to the area include adding a traffic signal at 18th and Wentworth streets, new sidewalks on each side of the street, a buffered bicycle lane and improve access to Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse.

The project area will span from South Wells Street between West Roosevelt Road and West 16th Street and South Wentworth Avenue between West 16th Street and West Cermak Road, CDOT said.

There will be traffic and bike restrictions on West 18th Street during the construction of the traffic signal. Parking will be prohibited on both sides of Wentworth Avenue between Ping Tom Memorial Park and 19th Street during construction. The first phase of construction is expected to be complete by June 2017, according to CDOT.

“These improvements will make Chinatown more pedestrian and bike friendly while bringing new economic opportunities to a growing and vibrant community,” said Alderman Daniel Solis.

The second phase of the project will realign Wentworth Avenue between Archer Avenue and Cermak Road in order to improve safety. A new plaza will also be built on the east side of Wentworth at 19th Street. Work has already begun with the demolition of two out of three buildings that have been acquired in order to make the improvements, said CDOT.

“This project exemplifies Chicago’s strong commitment to the economic growth of the Chinatown community,” said CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld. “By creating a direct road, transit and bicycle access to Chinatown’s thriving commercial center, we hope to strengthen the community’s identity and economy.”

Construction of the first and second phase of the project is expected to cost $16.9 million with funds coming from River South and 24th/Michigan Tax Increment Financing, according to CDOT.