Damen/Elston/Fullerton Intersection Improvement 1/18/17

New Elston Avenue opened to one lane in each direction in August of 2016 and was fully opened to traffic, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian on December 10th, 2016. There are now two vehicular lanes in each direction, sidewalks (except where impacted by Midtown expansion), and protected bike lanes in each direction.

Work will restart in the spring (March 2017) on Fullerton Avenue to complete underground utility work, reconstruct the south side sidewalk, and complete reconstruction of the intersections. The traffic control plan for Stage 7 will prohibit left turns from Fullerton onto Damen at the intersection of Damen and Fullerton and detour them to the new Elston Avenue. Stage 7 work is estimated to last 6-8 weeks. At completion of this stage, traffic signal equipment will be installed at all three intersections, and likely be completed under temporary lane closures.

Elston Court (south of Fullerton) reconstruction and streetscape improvements  will continue in March/ April and will be completed early summer 2017. Resurfacing, which will require temporary daily lane closures will likely proceed in late June/ July 2017. Cleanup and punch list work will continue later this summer with some tree and landscape plantings deferred until early fall 2017.

The following are aerial photos of the new Elston Bypass, care of Brian Fritz Photography:

Damen Elston Fullerton Bypass Route to Open to Vehicular Traffic on August 18th 

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced that a portion of a new section of Elston Avenue will open to vehicular traffic on August 18th, re-routing traffic from the intersection of Fullerton Avenue and Damen Avenue. The announcement marks a major milestone in the reconstruction and realignment of the often-congested intersections.

CDOT Press Release

Interim Traffic Allignment

Progress Update July 22, 2016

Work is progressing towards opening new Elston Avenue, currently targeted for August 15.  This will be a huge milestone for this project that has been many years in the making!

Night Work Scheduled

Beginning Monday July 25, crews will begin the installation of new water main across Fullerton Avenue at the Damen Avenue intersection.  In order to minimize the impact to traffic at the intersection, this work will be done at night.  Traffic on Fullerton will be reduced to one lane and will be flagged through the intersection between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am. Crews anticipate being able to complete the work within two weeks.

New Elston opens, work begins on Damen and Fullerton

The opening of the new Elston alignment will coincide with new lane closures on Damen and Fullerton.  One lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction on Damen and Fullerton, with left turn lanes provided on Fullerton.  These lane reductions are scheduled to last through the Fall.

Old Elston

The current Elston alignment south of Fullerton (which will be re-named Elston Court) will be re-constructed after the traffic stage switch in August.  Access will be limited at times through that corridor as crews complete watermain, sewer, sidewalk, lighting and pavement installation.  Drivers and bikes heading south from Fullerton should take advantage of the new Elston alignment.

CDOT plans to open the new Elston alignment in early summer 2016. Work on the existing streets will start late spring and continue through the rest of the year. Final completion, including resurfacing, sidewalk replacement and landscaping will be completed in 2017. The following are updates about individual segments of the three arterial streets and work that will continue leading up to the construction of the new Elston segment scheduled to begin in early spring 2016.

Damen Avenue and Fullerton, west of Damen

People’s Gas and AT&T will continue to relocate their facilities through this area to prepare for new watermain installation scheduled for late spring. Traffic will be impacted on both Damen and Fullerton, with daily off-peak lane closures. However, at least one lane will be maintained in each direction. Work has begun south and west of the intersection, and will progress to the north and east.

Fullerton, east of Elston

CDOT’s contractors will continue sewer work in Fullerton where the new Elston alignment will eventually cross. The current traffic configuration (south lanes closed, all traffic pushed north) will remain in place through April.

Elston, south of Fullerton

Pavement has been patched and the lanes restored.

Elston Avenue, north of Fullerton

ComEd has some minor relocation work (+/- 2 weeks) to complete in Elston, starting in March. Otherwise, all lanes should remain open north of the intersection through the rest of the winter.


I am pleased to announce that the intersection of Damen, Elston, and Fullerton is undergoing a complete redesign. This intersection consistently ranks among the most congested and accident prone in the City. I have been working with the Chicago Department of Transportation and the surrounding neighborhoods since 2007 to design and fund significant safety and efficiency improvements.

The plan includes the rerouting of Elston Avenue around the existing six corner intersection with Damen and Fullerton. Analysis of other alternatives, including a tunnel or flyover, revealed them to be less effective and more expensive than this option.

This proposed project will significantly improve traffic safety and capacity and involves the acquisition of only a handful of properties and no displacement of any existing residences.

The benefits of the proposed project include:

  • Improved access to adjacent properties and businesses
  • Elimination of the six-legged intersection will reduce driver confusion and accidents
  • Majority of construction is off existing alignment minimizing traffic impacts during construction
  • Improved conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists
  • One year construction schedule
  • Avoidance of utility relocations and traffic lane reductions involved in a tunnel approach

There will be periodic lane closures associated with this intersection improvement project. Drivers should anticipate increased congestion in the area surrounding the intersection. I will be working with the Chicago Department of Transportation to provide updates and mitigate construction related issues as they may arise.

The Chicago Department of Transportation developed an informational piece summarizing the project, Damen Elston Fullerton Flyer

Prior reports and project information:

DEF Project Summary 051912 (pdf)

DEF Plan 030912 (pdf)

April 27, 2011 Public Forum Presentation (video)

April 2008 Public Presentation (pdf)

Fox Ford Breaks Ground

Intersection Prepares for Demo

Landscape Concepts for DEF (pdf)