CHICAGO (STMW) — Some rolled their eyes, others uttered expletives and still others slowed their vehicles, confused by the orange-and-white barricades blocking Wacker Drive.

But all in all, pedestrians and the estimated 60,000 motorists who use Wacker daily survived the hassles of the construction project that got under way Monday, officials said.

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“Given that tens of thousands of vehicles were impacted on the first work day of the year, things went very smoothly,” said Brian Steele, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Transportation. “That said, we are always looking for ways to tweak things.”

The work on Wacker Drive is being done in phases, starting between Randolph and Madison streets, Steele said. In mid-summer, the work will shift south for crews to rehab the section of Wacker between Madison and Monroe, Steele said.

To accommodate work crews, 13 CTA bus routes have been altered. Wacker traffic is being detoured onto Franklin Street, which has been converted into a two-way street for the duration of the project.

To help ease congestion, the city deployed 40 traffic control aides along Wacker and nearby streets, Steele said.

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The work will be similar to what was done in 2001 and 2002 on East/West Wacker and includes increasing the ceiling height on Lower Wacker, improving lighting and eliminating blind merges.

Steele said problems were minimal on Monday, but included “a good bit of congestion” at Lake Street near Wacker.

For more information, visit the Wacker Drive website at

— Sun-Times, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

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(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)