It’s been talked about for weeks, but a major rebuilding project for Chicago’s Kennedy Expressway has finally begun, with workers installing barriers and gearing up for the start of a multi-year effort.
These barriers will be installed on the two inbound lanes of the roadway on a 7.5 mile section from Edens Junction to Ohio Street that will be closed for the foreseeable future when repairs to the bridge begin.
To alleviate this problem, fast lanes will be permanently opened for inbound traffic, but prepare drivers for some serious challenges.
“My first thought when I heard this was, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be hell,'” Fernando Ibarra said.
Significant delays and increased travel times are expected during the duration of the project. The project will work on the inbound side of the highway in year one, the fast lane reconstruction work in year two, and finally the outbound lane reconstruction. Year.
The Illinois Department of Transportation said inbound lane closures could be finished by the fall, and highway lane closures are expected to begin in the spring of 2024 for bridge and pavement patching.
IDOT encourages commuters to take alternatives such as CTA, Metra, and Pace as the road undergoes major renovations for the first time in almost 30 years.
“It’s in a state of disrepair,” said John Schumacher, construction director of the IDOT bureau. “For 30 years, including winter and he travels in 275,000 cars a day, it’s been pounding. It takes time.”
The initial stage of work, which began at 10:00 p.m. Monday, will simply involve installing barricades and other barriers. Work will be limited to the inbound side of the highway, but all commuters should be prepared for the changes, officials said.
“I live here locally, but put my Uber driver aside,” says Dawn Greer. “So its construction makes the trip much longer. I’m not really looking forward to it.”