Major traffic delays are expected as construction on the Kennedy Expressway begins Monday


Chicago commuters beware — your case on Monday is about to get even worse.

Construction on the Kennedy Expressway, which will continue to Edens and Ohio Streets, will begin Monday.

Between these points, Kennedy’s two uphill left lanes will be closed until July. His two lanes on the right will then be closed until the construction period ends in the fall.

A major impact will not be felt until Tuesday, said Maria Castaneda, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Approximately 1.5 to 2 miles of roads will be closed from 10pm to 5am every day starting Monday.

Drivers should be prepared for significant delays.

“Driving every day, you will notice a change,” said Castaneda. “As you progress through each stage, you will find that there are fewer and fewer lanes available.”

IDOT recommends that people working downtown take public transportation.

Castaneda expects many people to need to wake up earlier to cope with long commutes.

“Definitely take more time in the morning,” Castaneda said. “Obviously some people just can’t change their schedules. But if they can change their commute times, they do.”

Once the lanes are closed, IDOT will demolish and replace 23 bridges along the highway. It takes a week to tear down a bridge and five weeks to build a new one.

While Kennedy’s uphill 2lane is closed, the reversible 2lane will be uphill only.

Castaneda said ramps and exits are unaffected for now. However, drivers pulling into the closed area express lane are not allowed to exit to Armitage Avenue.

With much of Kennedy Street closed, traffic is expected to return to Dun Ryan and the Edens Expressway.

So which alternative routes will drivers be able to take? Castaneda said IDOT cannot officially recommend people divert to city streets.

She expects River North to be particularly busy during construction, but there will be extra traffic on West Ontario Street and Ohio Street.

“Some of the big highways that lead to highways will definitely go backwards,” Castaneda said.

More than 275,000 vehicles cross the highway every day. This is the main road that goes straight through the town to O’Hare.

In addition to repairing the bridge, the $150 million project includes updating signage, painting and reversible lanes. Two more phases of construction will begin in spring 2024 and spring 2025.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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