Construction on the Kennedy Expressway is scheduled to begin Monday, potentially delaying drivers for nearly three years.
The $150 million project will be located downtown in a massive underpass near Hubbard Street along a 7.5-mile stretch from the south junction of Interstate 94 to Ohio Street. This includes refurbishment of 36 bridges and highway reversible express lane access systems, replacement of overhead signs, lighting upgrades, paving and painting.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the work is intended to improve safety, traffic flow and reliability on the 10-lane highway, which is used by more than 275,000 drivers each day. The 63-year-old road was last extensively restored in 1994, and the bridge was last repaired 10 years ago.
Construction will be phased in over the next three warm seasons, starting with the inbound or southbound lanes this year.
Two normal inbound lanes will be closed at once, and drivers will also encounter lane changes and some exit ramp closures. A reversible fast lane in the middle of the highway will remain open in the uphill direction, but IDOT has warned drivers that not all exits are available from the fast lane.
In late 2023, work will begin on painting and installing new LED lighting in the large Hubbard Street underpass between Ohio and Lake streets, known as Hubbard’s Cavern.
All inbound lanes and ramps are expected to reopen in the fall, and reversible express lanes are also expected to resume normal operations.
Construction will transition to reversible express lanes in spring 2024, but will remain closed while the bridge and express lane access system are repaired and the pavement patched. Some regular non-express lanes will also remain closed while lighting installation and painting continue at Hubbard’s Cavern.
Work on the down lane is expected to begin in spring 2025. At once he has 2 lanes closed, lane shifts and some ramps closed. Express lanes in the middle of the highway remain open to the outbound direction.
Outbound work and updates at Hubbard’s Cave are expected to be completed in late fall 2025.
The crew will begin setting up the first work zone next week, reducing the inbound Kennedy to two lanes. They will set up the barrier from the north end of the construction zone, near the Interstate 94 junction, move south to Ohio Avenue, and work overnight from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Installation is expected to take about a week.
IDOT warns drivers to expect “significant travel delays” during construction and urges them to take alternative routes, travel during less busy hours, or use public transport. Encourage the driver.
Once construction begins, Metra plans to add weekday trains to the Union Pacific Northwest Line, which runs along the Kennedy Expressway for much of the section under construction. The new schedule will include 12 additional weekday trains during peak and off-peak hours, Metra executive director Jim Derwinski said in a statement, adding that trains will run at least every 30 minutes during rush hours. , meaning it runs hourly at most stations at other times.
The schedule changes coming April 3 are primarily in response to passenger trends and customer feedback, but may also offer alternative routes while the highway is under construction, he said.
“With a major multi-year rehabilitation project set to begin on the Kennedy Highway, this new schedule will allow Metra to offer more commuters a viable and less stressful alternative to driving. said Derwinski.