If navigating Green Street through campus drives you batty already, you might want to avoid it altogether for the next few weeks.
Two major road projects within an eight-block stretch of Campustown have closed parts of Green, even as tens of thousands of music fans, wayward moms, runners and film enthusiasts prepare to descend on Champaign-Urbana.
“Even if it was open, I’m not sure I’d want to go with all that going on,” admits Chris Sokolowski, assistant city engineer in Champaign.
Driving the construction is the massive Multimodal Corridor Enhancement project — MCORE for short — a $44 million, four-year plan to transform Green, White and Wright streets and Armory Avenue.
The first phase, which closed Green between Neil and Locust streets in Champaign, started in early March. It will eventually redo Green from Neil to Fourth Street, with new bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks and landscaping.
The second phase, to revamp the area in front of Illini Union, won’t begin in earnest until after the UI’s May 13 commencement, when campus will be much quieter. That project will completely close Green between Wright Street and Mathews Avenue from May 22 until Aug. 25, the start of UI classes.
But a related project is already underway: the installation of a water main by Illinois American Water on Green from Wright all the way to Lincoln Avenue in Urbana. Traffic is down to one lane in each direction between…